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The anthropozoology of domestication for milk productionAnthropozoologie de la domestication laitiere

By F. Poplin

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Milk draws its substance from a living being of flesh and blood and from plant matter full of scents, through a two-cycle digestive system and fermentation in vivo, that of ruminants, which are also animals that provide meat ("you drink my milk, you eat my meat"). The pig, the "outlaw" of domestication for milk production, escapes the rules and may be viewed in different ways, giving rise to human disagreements. The relationship involved in human suckling may go as far as the forming of language through facial communication with the mother, but it is quite different in animals. The sharing of blood through the placenta is replicated in the relation of human maternal milk to extra-specific milks, producing a special relation with the animal, a familiarity such that killing it becomes murder and requires a moral contract with a necessary higher authority to create a particular purpose for it in the institution of sacrifice. The presence of plant substance in milk relates it to plant juices and sugars (the words lactose and fructose are evocative, and lactic acid may be considered a central element), to communication effected through higher levels of perception (scents, flavours, colours) and the search for a milk tree appears as a "quest for the Holy Grail" where almond milk marks a stage; it appears, the more one goes towards the rising sun from the Occident, the more the plant metaphor, soya, plays a role.

Publication Title Anthropozoologica
Volume 47
Issue 2
Pages 15-29
ISBN/ISSN 0761-3032
DOI 10.5252/az2012n2a2
Language French
Author Address UMR 7209 "Archeozoologie, archeobotanique: societes, pratiques et environnements" Dpt EGB-MNHN, Bat. d'Anatomie comparee, C.P. 56, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Angiosperms
  2. Animals
  3. Anthropology
  4. Bovidae
  5. Butterflies and moths
  6. Cattle
  7. Color
  8. Digestibility
  9. Domestic animals
  10. Domestication
  11. Feeding
  12. Fermentation
  13. Flavor
  14. Flowers
  15. Foods
  16. fructose
  17. Humans
  18. Infants
  19. Lactic acid
  20. Lactose
  21. Livestock
  22. Mammals
  23. Meat.
  24. Men
  25. Milk and dairy products
  26. milk substitutes
  27. olfaction
  28. peer-reviewed
  29. Pigs
  30. Plants
  31. Primates
  32. Ruminants
  33. senses
  34. Soybeans
  35. suckling
  36. sugar
  37. Suiformes
  38. ungulates
  39. vertebrates
  40. Zoology
  1. peer-reviewed