BANGALORE: Donkey milk is in great demand in the city as many believe that it is good for infants and helps them to develop resistance. Doctors, however, call it a myth. Drinking donkey’s milk can cause severe anaemia among infants, warn pediatricians in the city.
According to them, the high protein and fat content in donkey milk is not suitable for humans, and it is just a myth that the milk helps cure many ailments.
Speaking to Express, Dr Asha Benakappa, pediatrician at Vani Vilas Hospital and professor at Bangalore Medical College, said, “Donkey milk will cause megaloblastic anemia, which is a deficiency of vitamin B12, a horrible anemia.”
She said, “We don’t understand how even educated parents believe in such things. Are we going back to the Stone Age?”
According to experts, the fat and protein content in donkey’s milk is higher compared to others and not suitable for infants. “Infants cannot digest the proteins available from donkey milk and the fat in donkey milk is very high and dangerous to babies. In the first three years, the human brain will grow fast and we should not provide harmful nutrients,” she said.
Pediatrician Dr N Nijaguna, said, “Donkeys are not monitored well and they might have eaten things like DDT, discarded batteries and any insecticide. Such things will also be present in the milk. We need to educate the mothers especially in this regard.” Pediatricians do not even recommend cow’s milk, and so how can people give donkey milk? he wondered.
Tradition over science
A couple of families from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu border have come to the city with their donkeys and are living in Kengeri, Magadi road and other areas. Every day they go to one area with their donkeys and sell fresh milk at the doorstep. According to their information, they earn Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 on weekends and charge Rs 50 for half a spoon of milk! It is believed that the milk cures ailments in infants, like stomach ache, cough-soar throat, and asthma and improves immunity and digestion.
Anusha, mother of a three months old baby says, “it is a old tradition and my parents fed me also. Normally we get it from dhobi ghat and feed.” “Science may has its own explanations and reasons, but feeding donkeys milk will cure many problems in children and we know it from ages,” said chandru another parent.