One of the most successful ad campaigns ever launched in the United States features the ubiquitous milk moustache on celebrities’ upper lips with the simple caption “Got Milk?” Found on television, in magazines, and emblazoned across city bus banners, the ads put milk back in competition with an ever-widening array of soda pop and sports drinks options. However, in Third World countries, milk can mean the difference between survival and malnutrition. China believes that milk is one key to their nutritional survival.
According to Paul Hyer, emeritus professor of history at BYU and China expert, the Chinese once lived on a beef and dairy diet. Hyer, who has lived in China on several occasions and traveled throughout the country, recalled that when he was a young man, the average life span in China was only twenty-six years—due, in part, to high infant mortality, often a result of poor nutrition.
“If a family has a dairy cow, they have a daily supply of needed protein, particularly for their young children.”
“With the introduction of new crops and a Confucian emphasis on sons and large posterity, China’s population tripled in a hundred years,” Hyer explained. This turn of events brought a scarcity of food to the Chinese.