|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
1st USA Notmilk Protest
"I did not use tea, nor coffee, nor butter, nor milk, nor fresh meat, and so did not have to work to get them..." Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1845 The great American butter protest occurred 236 years ago. In 1766, at the age of 21, Asa Dunbar led a student demonstration at Harvard University. Harvard is America's oldest university, founded just 16 years after the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. The ivy was just beginning to grow upon those hallowed halls, when Dunbar set the pattern for future student unrest by leading a revolt that nearly led to his expulsion. After the faculty condemned Dunbar for the "sin of insubordination," Dunbar led the student body off campus. Their slogan: "Behold, our butter stinketh." Fifty-one years after his revolt against rancid butter, Dunbar became a grandfather. His grandson's name: Henry David Thoreau In March of 1624, America's dairy industry began in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, when the good ship Charity delivered three cows and a bull to the grateful Pilgrims. Within a generation, every family in America had a dairy cow. Pilgrim diaries reveal that the favorite food of the native Americans soon became "rancid butter." One can only imagine the salmonella, E. coli, bovine leukemia, clostridium, and colonies of paratuberculosis thriving in that rancid butter. Indians fell in love with the creamy taste of the Pilgrim's butter. They traded furs and fish, meat and land for this much desired commodity. Were flu-stricken Pilgrims sneezing behind trees in the woods responsible for the deaths of one million Abenaki and Wampaunoag? Was it perhaps the Native American's love for the rancid butter, the gift of the bovines? Our day of giving thanks might very well have been their eve of destruction.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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