2008-10-15 / Opinion

Happily Ever After

by Alex McRae

The good people at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream have been making frozen goodies at their Vermont commune for 30 years.

The product is great, but Ben & Jerry's doesn't stop at ice cream. The company is as politically active as any in America. And there's no doubt these folks lean way to the left as indicated by this nugget from their Web site:

"Capitalism and the wealth it produces do not create opportunity for everyone equally. We recognize that the gap between the rich and the poor is wider than at anytime since the 1920s. We strive to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them and to advance new models of economic justice that are sustainable and replicable."

But to its credit, Ben & Jerry's puts its corporate money where its mouth is, sending lots of loot each year to causes the company believes in.

But being so blatantly leftist has a downside. Namely, that the ice cream maker never knows what lunatic left-wing group will show up seeking a favor. Recently, the Ben & Jerry's people were stunned when a well- known activist group asked them to change the main ingredient in their ice cream.

The group is PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The other day, they asked Ben & Jerry's to end the plight of dairy cows by making ice cream ... with human breast milk.

In a letter to Ben & Jerry's, PETA Executive VP Tracy Reiman first alleged that dairy milk was linked to human ailments ranging from juvenile diabetes to constipation. Reiman closed by saying: "The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration."

Ben & Jerry's politely refused PETA's suggestion.

As we say down South, "It's a blessing."

Can you imagine the chaos if they had caved in to PETA's request?

Breast milk is swell for infants, but I'm not sure adults are looking to relive this childhood experience. And how do you sell the "organic" benefits of the product once the breast milk has been loaded with colorings, flavorings and additives?

Besides, how would you even order the stuff? By cup size?

"Hi, and welcome to Ben & Jerry's. What can I get you?"

"I'd like a scoop of 36- AAA. With a cherry on top. Hold the whipped cream." The good news is, you won't be seeing a Britney Spears, Pamela Sue Anderson or (shudder) Ruth Bader Ginsberg flavor in the Ben & Jerry's arsenal anytime soon.

But the fact that PETA would even suggest such a thing is cause for alarm. PETA obviously doesn't think nursing cows should be milked, but it doesn't have a problem with herds of nursing mothers being sent to the milking shed to produce quart after quart of Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia or former favorite Economic Crunch.

At a time when the financial markets are melting — not to mention the planet — the PETA people are worried about using cow's milk to make ice cream. How sad.

Years ago, I worked with a woman who said milking cows was the equivalent of rape. Since I've never been reincarnated as a milk cow, I can't say. But I'm guessing that any cow who has gone unmilked for a couple of days would much rather submit to the "rape" of milking than face the alternative, which is scientifically known as "blowing up."

The fact that PETA wants Ben & Jerry's to enslave a herd of humans to pacify the world's militant vegetarians is laughable.

PETA's always been anxious to save the whales. If they ever show the same concern for humans, they might one day be taken seriously.

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