If you’re going to start a sentence with “humans are the only mammals who,” I sure hope you’re planning to share a fun fact, not to make an argument (unless your argument is that humans are unique among mammals.)
Alas, when I hear “humans are the only mammals who,” I brace myself for one particular argument: milk drinking.
Should humans drink milk from other species?
Well, humans are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning.
Folks, this is not a scientific argument. Say I accept your premise that humans are the only mammals who drink milk from other species. Does it follow that humans ought not drink milk from other species? No, this merely means that humans are different from other mammals.
The reality is, this is only one of many significant ways in which humans are different from other mammals. Humans build fires to heat their homes and cook their food. Humans wear clothing. Humans use soap. Humans write blog posts. Humans use medications to treat and prevent illness. We are truly exceptional creatures.
If “humans are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning” is an argument against milk-drinking, why shouldn’t the same argument be used to say we should all run around naked and unwashed? Why shouldn’t we also argue that we should only eat raw food (or food that has just happened to be cooked by the sun, without human intervention)?
Furthermore, is the statement that “humans are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning” even true?
When I was growing up, we took regular trips to visit my grandparents in rural northeastern Nebraska. There was one particular farm along the way that kept their cows and their pigs in the same pen. My siblings and I were always fascinated (and a bit grossed-out, to be honest) to see the pigs suckling on the cows. Perhaps the only reason “humans are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning” is because few other mammals have opportunity? After all, I think humans might be the only mammals who express their milk and that of other animals to be consumed versus consuming it only directly from the breast/udder.
So, anyway, if you’re trying to make an argument that cow’s milk (or non-milk cow’s milk substitutes) is unnecessary for humans, please try another argument.
This rant brought to you in response to something I read from someone who should have known better. Since I actually agreed with her true underlying point (that a child who is allergic to cow’s milk doesn’t need an alternate milk source), I didn’t bother to try to straighten out her argument – but I did want to get my frustration with that argument off my chest.