Friday, November 23, 2007

Rat Milk

Heather Mills' recent suggestion to drink rat's milk (or cat's or dog's milk) doesn't seem to have gone down very well with various people. She was attempting to draw a connection between the rise in global warming and dairy livestock production in this country, so selecting an alternative to cow's milk in one's diet theoretically helps to save the planet.

Professor of Food Science at Glasgow Caledonian University said her suggestion that rat's milk could be a viable alternative was "ridiculous. They just don't lactate the same volumes."

Anyway, rats haven't had a great public image in promoting healthy living since their major role in spreading the Black Death across medieval Europe. The
Federation of Rodent Cheesemakers pointed out that rat produce isn't for the squeamish. They do a classic little English style cheese, a "robust rodent cheddar" called Nibblesden Vintage, but memories of Rattus Rattus, the Black 'Death' Rat, clearly linger for some.

Pestilence and disease aside, they reckon it would take a herd of five hundred or so dairy rats to produce about a pint (568ml) of milk a day. Doesn't sound very practical, does it. I wonder what the rats would think of Heather's suggestion? They seem pretty capable of looking after themselves, going by this 18th century print of rats storming a cat's castle. I guess you could say they survived the Plague Years a lot better than humans. Go, rats, go! And how did you say you liked your tea... with rat milk or without....?


deb said...

hmmm, I do think it would be a hard sell.

Maybe reserved for tea or coffee?


Claire said...

I'd definitely take mine black!

I did find the idea of hundreds of rats being milked rather disturbing though. Poor little blighters. What is Heather Mills letting them in for...?