Why do humans eat cheese made from some animals milk and not others?


Why do humans eat cheese made from some animals milk and not others?

In: Biology

A few reasons, actually.

First is size. Cows are big and produce lots of milk. They can produce a surplus, so we’re not harming the calves, either. Same with goats. On the other hand, guinea pigs wouldn’t be a good choice for this reason.

Next is domesticablility. We can’t safely milk wild animals, of course, but many domestic animals don’t take well to it (like dogs).

Flavor is important. Sheep don’t produce a milk that humans would like (or so I’m told).

Practicality: ~~Sheep would also be difficult to milk due to their wool and skittishness, it’s not just their flavor that’s off-putting.~~ (E: I was wrong on this, people *do* milk sheep, e.g. Romano cheese may be made from sheep’s milk.) Some animals just take to being milked better than others.

You can’t produce cheese without milk, so your options are limited to that. So far as I know, every animal we can successfully milk at scale also has one or more cheeses made from their milk.

I was gonna say taste of food and volume then I had a flashback to the scene from “kingpin”.

Based on some answers re: domestication and size, then what about horses?

Cheese-making cultures (ie, Europeans) make cheese from just about every animal whose milk we harvest, which in turn is just about every large mammal we keep, except for pigs and horses. There’s sheep milk cheese (think romano cheese at the pizza shop, or manchego or roquefort cheeses at the cheesemonger’s), goat milk cheese (it’s called chevre, which really just means goat), there’s [water] buffalo milk cheese (it’s usually fancy mozzarella).

So why does cow’s milk cheese dominate? Cost. Modern dairy cows produce an absolute ton of milk. Even specially-bred dairy sheep and goats, even allowing for their smaller size, can’t compete.