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The Udder Udder White Meat

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

The Udder Udder White Meat

Andrew Ryan

To a born and bred middle class westerner like me, China seems fucking weird. A country famous for producing shitty plastic toys, its Communist government was responsible for the changeover of tens of millions of people from peasants into an army of state-run collective farmers in one fucking year. That is a way bigger deal than it looks in words. When westerners think of China, I have a feeling it is usually with a sense of confusion: plastic toys, communists, international uni students, ancient architecture, little remaining traditional culture, and a bad habit of popping up in the news when something weird is going on.

Like Chinese artist Ai Weiwei disappearing off the face of the earth for a week. After being stopped in an airport, he was taken into custody for what was obviously a reaction to his dissent against the government, though it was at first claimed by Chinese officials to be for unspecified economic crimes. Then the world pays attention, and the story is changed to bigamy. No one likes a guy with two wives, they’re thinking. That will make the world dislike the crazy artist… but it is completely transparent to the rest of the world that they’re trying to shut him up about his dislike for the government. And now his studio workers have gone missing too. Somehow the government thinks they’re getting away with it. Maybe they are. They’re still missing. China seems fucking weird.

A few years ago, there was a batch of baby formula in China that made babies sick. Lots of babies got very sick. Chinese baby formula was banned all over the world because babies died, and China looked like a baby killer, and China doesn’t like looking shit in the eyes of the rest of the world, so they try and do better, gotta make good, so they take the next logical step and genetically modify a herd of cows to produce milk similar to that of human milk.

Not weirded out by that last bit? Read it again, slower this time.

Yeah. Fact.

The milk isn’t exactly the same (yet), it just has similar properties. Exactly what they are- or how they did it- hasn’t been made public. All we know is that there are 200 cows somewhere in China that are pumping out stronger tasting milk that is more akin to human milk than cow milk. The plan is to have artificially made human milk in supermarkets in 10 years. WHUT CHINA? You realise that mothers still have boobs with milk in them don’t you? Then why such a gross waste of resources huh? Can’t you flex your chemistry muscles in more helpful ways, like cancer cures or something? Playing god with cows isn’t going to bring those babies back, or win you the respect of Americans. You weirdos.

This whole thing is weird. Humans are weird, and the food chain is weird. We’re highest on the food chain, so we’ve been able to evolve to force our fancy-free wants and desires on to hapless lesser mammals around us. I’ll farm you for eggs because I can and I’m hungry. I’ll force feed you over there every day to make your liver a diseased delicacy, because I can and I’m hungry and I’m bored with normal food. I’ll get you pregnant all the time and take away your babies so me and my babies can drink your milk even though it’s not necessary for our diet, and then I’ll kill you and use your skin to fashion a comfortable seat to put on the back of that guy over there, and I’ll sit on that seat on his back and make him run in circles so that other humans have something to watch to alleviate their boredom as a result of not having to hunt for our food anymore.

Imagine if we weren’t top of the food chain, that there was some other animal with thumbs and brains like ours except better, and we couldn’t stop them from doing what they wanted to us. Like the cows. Could they even feed their own young with this milk? If I was one of those cows, and I still had my consciousness, and I realised that I couldn’t feed my babies anymore, only human babies, I would be heartbroken. If cows could think like us, I think suicide rates would be pretty high. ANYWAY.

If we were not highest on the food chain, what do I think we’d be bred for by the higher species? I’m glad you asked! Human hair farms would happen. We’d be separated into groups of hair colours, and probably bred to grow our hair stronger and faster. Cloth would be woven from the great amounts of it. We’d run around tiny controlled towns until the hair was long enough to be shorn, then we’d get run into sheds designed to be as calming as possible but it’s still fucking scary getting grabbed by an animal that you instinctively know can kill you. They’d wear our hair, sleep under blankets of it, insulate their houses with it and even mix the cut offs with a little bit of poop for garden nutrients. Mats made of hair can protect freshly planted seeds from being blown into the air by wind. What a world.

And then there would be other farms, where humans are made to live in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety. The high stress levels speed up the process of ear wax secretion, which is being used by our master beings as a natural pigment for illustrations and whatnot, and as a remedy for cracked lips. Saliva will be collected whenever possible in both hair and ear wax farms for make benefit healing the wounds of the master beings. For some reason their own saliva doesn’t cut it, and as you may have realised, these guys haven’t quite hit advanced science stage yet.

But once that happens it’ll be all cutting and sewing and growing god knows what on our bodies, harvesting blood and organs and poking and pulling, and we will have no idea why, nor will we give two shits if we do discover that they’re looking for a way to cure blindness in their species, because what does it matter when you’re cutting us up guys? Maybe if you ask NICELY and explain how it is mutually beneficial to both our species would we then consider finding you some volunteers or something.

I wish it worked like that. In this case, the human-cow-milk thing, it kind of can work like that, in that talking and discussing with animals about the benefits of certain experiments would be productive. The Chinese scientists can talk to the Chinese women and say “Look, these boobies you have, they have milk in them for your baby”. And the women can say “Yes, you are right, I will breast feed my baby, and if my boobies stop producing milk, then I’ll get some infant formula that you put a lot of effort into making safe right?” and the scientist will say “Of course.” And then he’ll turn to the cow and say “Sorry dude, we never should have forced you in to making her milk inside your boobies, it’s pretty weird”, then he’ll go to the government and say “If we like the medicinal good bits of human breast milk so much, why don’t we just put those good bits into pill or liquid capsule form?” and the government will give him a medal for saving them from so much wasting of money and time and resources, but secretly also for saving them from the humiliation of letting such a super weird thing happen in the world.

I would offer my services as a shoulder to cry on to that cow.