A group of women took part in a public performance art where they were milked by machines, in front of the 200th Anniversary Commemorative Light Show for The National Gallery, one of the top art museums in London, UK.

In an Instagram post, SPECIESISM.WTF, the organisers of the event, said “A herd of topless women milked by machines stormed The National Gallery with performance art as a critique of their 200th Anniversary Celebration. @nationalgallery ‘Milk is NOT Human(e)’… Thank you deeply to @kevinthevegan and the incredible London team of activists who worked seamlessly together to bring this message to the masses, and the courageous participants of the performance art.”

Artist Stephanie Lane of this group said, “The National Gallery is not inclusive of all sentient beings, particularly nonhuman females, but rather only depicts nonhuman animals as commodities throughout the gallery collections, further perpetuating animal cruelty and speciesism which is not fully representative of our modern cultural views and shifting perspectives. The National Gallery prides itself on being ‘the people’s gallery’, but their current collections do not represent any modern British artists whose works focus on speciesism, or which offer varied perspectives to their audience on our ever-evolving relationship with nonhuman farmed animals, and the ethics of property status. A missed opportunity in a nation of so-called animal lovers.”

The artist aims to collaborate with art institutions which claim to foster diversity, particularly those with contemporary art collections, by shedding light on the experiences of nonhuman animals and speciesism, to inspire critical thinking and foster a more compassionate world.

On 21st October 2023, five women from the same group and Radically Kind staged a similar piece of performance art in front of the Tate Modern Museum of Contemporary Art in London. Also titled “Dairy Is Not Human(e),” the event aimed to challenge the notion that animals are commodities and highlight the ethical implications of speciesism. The piece depicted the chained women pretending to be “milked” by machines, and then explaining to people passing by that they were artificially inseminated every year to meet the demand for milk. Samples of this “Human(e) Milk” were available for the public to try (but they were oat milk). 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.