Milk Daddy raises a healthy kid
A businessman in Hunan province, haunted by scandals in the mainland's dairy industry, is raising five goats on his rooftop so his newborn girl can have easy access to safe milk.
Wei Xingyu, 36, started shopping for goats when his wife was pregnant.
'The food safety problem in China is known to the whole world,' Wei said. 'I don't need to go into details on that. I had goat milk myself during my stay in rural areas, and saw people raising goats to feed milk to children whose mothers were unable to supply enough.'
Wei bought two Saanen dairy goats, at nearly 3,000 yuan (HK$3,680) each, from a farm in Beijing and hired a car to carry them back to his home in a suburb of Changsha in March. He later bought three more goats, a male and two females, in the hope they will mate.
The goats have settled in to their new home on the roof of Wei's building, and he attends to them personally. The Saanen breed are known as the calmest of the dairy breeds, and Wei said it was easier taking care of them than pigs or dogs as he once did. 'They are a Swiss breed, among the best,' he said. 'The job is easy. You feed them and they produce milk. You clean them often and they won't smell.'
Media reports about Wei's goats triggered an outpouring of support and sympathy online and many dubbed Wei 'Milk Daddy'. More than 1,200 people on the Sina microblog site expressed support for him and concerns over food safety. One person commented that Wei would not have to go to so much trouble if the dairy industry were better regulated.
Wei said his wife started drinking goat's milk about a month before she gave birth.
Two goats produce six litres of milk a day, enough for the whole family and neighbours. 'My daughter drinks the milk after it has been boiled. The rest goes to me and my wife, and to our parents and grandparents. The neighbours get fresh milk as well.'
To feed the goats Wei drives to a rural area to gather fresh grass, which he then mixes with maize, rice and plants. Wei also bought seeds online and grows sweet elephant grass, which the goats enjoy, in a small plot belonging to a family relative. 'The trouble was worth it. Everyone I know says it's worth it as well,' Wei said.
'We have had so many scandals and we all see it's the poor and less privileged people who are affected most by the unsafe food. It's not a difficult job to raise goats in the countryside and I encourage farmers to do so,' he said.
Wei also shrugged off doubts over whether it was hygienic and safe for young babies to drink unprocessed goat milk.
He said that according to traditional Chinese medicine, drinking goat's milk was good for the liver.
'My daughter weighed 4.2 kilograms at birth and has grown to eight kilograms in just three months. She is completely healthy.'