photo by Jesse McClain
I recently received an anonymous comment to "Human Milk is NOT invention." The commentor obviously felt quite strongly that I was a lunatic, a crazie[not my spelling, I like to spell crazy with a "y"], an uneducated bigot, and ended with a "SHUT THE HELL UP." Getting an email like that makes me feel like a kid again. Name-calling always invokes the "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." Of course, name-calling hurts and that is it's purpose. But if I say my childhood mantra of sticks and stones I always feel better. As for shutting the hell up, I have to say that breastfeeding organizations have done an excellent job of shushing me for as long as possible. Although one might call that shushing ostracism or silencing of a critic.
The main thrust of the anonymous comment besides name-calling was to state that "these patents were to protect breastfeeding rates," and that, "pro-breastfeeding researchers should be applauded for these patents." There are no references to these comments. While I would love to believe that pro-breastfeeding researchers are patenting human milk to protect it from the infant formula industry, I have not heard of this before. Nor is there any public record of this being done that I have seen. Silence has been the main response to human milk and human milk component patents from breastfeeding organizations. I have been told by those who answered my emails that this issue is not of concern to them, maybe they will look at this issue sometime in the future...maybe.
Human milk research is funded by the infant formula industry. Human milk research is also funded by universities that are funded by the infant formula industry. The US Government funds research on human milk. But the infant formula industry has a large presence in the government. (Mead Johnson is on the list of CDC Foundation donors) I welcome any information that shows me that human milk researchers are patenting to prevent the infant formula industry from patenting. But I do have alot of questions. The infant formula, pharmaceutical, supplement, and food industries have over 2000 patents and applications on human milk/human milk compenents. There are an enormous amount of components to human milk (some not even discovered yet). Who are the researchers who own these patents to protect breastfeeding? Who is financially backing them? Why is this not public record? Why the silence?
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain