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girlofscience's avatar

Why don't we eat people?

Asked by girlofscience (7556points) July 24th, 2010
47 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

Why are people opposed to cannibalism?

Why can’t people donate their bodies for food? It seems logical that a person who dies accidentally could have their organs harvested and then the remainder of their body prepared as food.

If this were to be feasible (in terms of keeping the body preserved and edible after transport), why would anyone have an issue with this?

I can understand that some people simply may not like the taste of meat and thus wouldn’t enjoy eating human. But I fail to see why anyone would find something wrong with this.

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KhiaKarma's avatar

Gives me chills just thinking about it. shudders Don’t know why though, logically.

girlofscience's avatar

@KhiaKarma: At least you admit that logically there isn’t anything wrong with it. It doesn’t give me chills to think about at all, though. Any idea what your issue is with it? Do you eat animals?

KhiaKarma's avatar

I do. I don’t want to eat meat though. That’s an incongruency in my life. I grew up eating meat. It’s mindless to me. (not that I think that’s right) So, yeah, if I eat meat- what’s the differnce, logically? I dunno- it’s just a feeling for me. I think it may have something to do with the idea of having to face my own mortality within the process of consuming human flesh to give me energy for my own existance.

le_inferno's avatar

It’s really not very practical… if the only time people can eat human meat is if someone dies and has willingly donated their organs for food, it doesn’t seem like it would be worth the hassle. Human meat can’t possibly be that good to warrant that kind of tedium. You’d only get to eat it once in a blue moon and it would probably be crazy expensive. People can’t be harvested like chicken or cattle. Plus, in principle, it’s just weird. Why would you want to eat a person? Humans are not prey to one another. It’s unnatural to our perception of the animal kingdom hierarchy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

There are plenty of more useful applications for harvested human bits than food.

Blackberry's avatar

Humans are not the friendliest to one another, but we still recognize that we are all a part of a family that is separate from cows and chickens.

MaryW's avatar

If we ate people it would be a short step to growing people for food. I would not like to think about that as a major in college. Or as a whole new industry. Even animals ( other than us) use other species of animals as a food source. OK there are a few rogues that kill and or eat infants of the same species if they are not DNA related if they want to take over a group. But it does not help the species survive if it is also the food source.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@HungryGuy I’m not even gonna click on that link before I know- Does it contain pictures?

HungryGuy's avatar

@KhiaKarma – Don’t click on that link! Don’t do it! You’ll regret it for the rest of your life!

But to answer your question, no, that particular story is not illustrated.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@HungryGuy I don’t know, but I am not sure I want to risk it since you’re so hungry and all….

HungryGuy's avatar

@KhiaKarma – Right. It’s not worth the risk…

KhiaKarma's avatar

niiiice. Eating mini me’s. Quite disturbing, explains your avatar, though.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’m afraid I would make myself throw up from overeating.

judochop's avatar

Because we honor our dead. Unlike other animals that leave bodies to rot.

YARNLADY's avatar

Personally, I would much rather find a better solution to the world hunger issue. 20,000 people starve to death every single day of the year, and it’s a terrible shame.

mrentropy's avatar

Because we can never figure out the side dishes to go with it.

HungryGuy's avatar

@KhiaKarma – Ach! You broke down and read my horror story! You’re scarred for life now!

KatawaGrey's avatar

Actually, one of the reasons why there are so few cannibals left today meaning entire cultures that participate in cannibalism is because the human body actually contains some nasty little parasites that shouldn’t be ingested by humans. Ironic, isn’t it? Those cultures had a tendency to get sick and die from eating human flesh.

Iclamae's avatar

Logically, I’m not sure why I’d have trouble with it. I love meat but human meat does make me shudder also. Kind of like Soylent Green… spoilers

And I agree with @uberbatman about there being better uses like medicine.

I was going to point out that the diseases the person in question has would be transmittable, unlike most of the ones in the meat we do eat. Parasites too. Not to mention the number of people that would actually be healthy to eat… probably not enough to make it worth it. You have a high chance for the people that have died naturally to have cancer or other diseases that will make them unfit to eat. (can you imagine eating a tumor? I’m feeling sick just thinking about it).

Do we know if human even tastes good?

So in the end, really just not worth the hassle of regulation and industrial setup.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Iclamae: I’ve heard human flesh tastes like pork. I have no idea how anybody knows that, unless they asked Hannibal Lecter.~

Bluefreedom's avatar

Because cannibalism is inherently wrong to some people. Like me for example. Not so much for others. Like Jeffrey Dahmer for instance.

Austinlad's avatar

Because people just don’t have much taste nowadays.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Austinlad A little Sweet Baby Ray’s will help with that. darn, I just got your joke. ;)

anartist's avatar

@HungryGuy that story inspired your avatar, tight? Is that Mindy sticking out of your mouth?

cookieman's avatar

I honestly think it’s because we (humans) talk. no, really

Think about for a minute if cows (raised for beef) were able to suddenly talk and what they could say about the predicament they find themselves in.

As much as we might recognize or surmise that animals have feelings or complex thoughts, they’re inability to speak to us keeps detached from us as creatures just enough that we can eat them.

If one day a cow said to a farmer, “Please don’t let them kill me. I don’t wanna be steak. I have a family. Please, please…” – - We’d never eat a cow again.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@cprevite bingo! hit the nail on the head! GA!

Coloma's avatar

What song did Jeffery Dahmer sing on his way to the refrigerator?

” My Baloney has a first name….”

Berserker's avatar

I think it’s because that in most societies the moral boundaries just will not accept this, since other humans are friends, families and coworkers, no matter the superficiality which may sometimes paint this concept.

Personally I see nothing wrong with your idea, but I don’t see that it’s very useful either, not when considering the other resources we have currently, which serve a hectic society much more efficiently than waiting for people to die.

HungryGuy's avatar

@anartist – Yes. That’s Mindy. She was yummy!

Seek's avatar

I seem to remember something in my high school Biology class that stated we receive ten times less energy from meat-eaters than from plant-eaters, and ten times less from plant-eaters than from plants. And on down to plankton.

Eating omnivores would be inefficient. We don’t eat bears, either. I’m actually still thoroughly surprised that so many people still eat pork, knowing how unhealthy it is.

Also, isn’t there the whole “laughing death” thing? The human version of Mad Cow?

Ultimately, though, I’m sure it comes down to self-preservation. We don’t eat each other, because we don’t want to be seen as food ourselves. I know I look at a cow and think “Mmm… unprocessed cheeseburger”. I certainly do not want someone staring at me thinking about roasted tenderloins or liver and onions.

MissA's avatar

Served with Crow Under Glass…and, a bottle of German whine.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr – Oh, I dunno about that. You look rather tasty by your avatar :-p

Tomfafa's avatar

Oh shit… we don’t!? So why did got make fava beans?

jerv's avatar

@Tomfafa Don’t forget the Chianti ;)

Tomfafa's avatar

Oh yeah… a nice chianti!

downtide's avatar

If someone has not been murdered or purposely bred for food, then they have died from one of two things – old age or disease. I would not want to eat meat from any creature that has died from old age or disease. So there’s my logical argument.

Emotionally I think it’s just too creepy, and I wouldn’t be able to eat it.

anartist's avatar

@Coloma Good one!

jerv's avatar

My objection is a bit more pragmatic.

Humans are white meat (not red) and I am not big on pork, therefore I can’t imagine a person tasting all that good. Besides, carnivores generally don’t taste great anyways (which is why I can’t understand some cultures eating cats unless they are teh only meat around), and omnivores don’t taste much better.

Coloma's avatar

I live about an hour from Donner Lake in the Sierras.

I can never go past there without thinking of the Donner party.

The ultimate in misery, freezing to death in the snow and having to eat your horses, mules, dogs and then….aaaaaah….your fellow traveler.

I’d have just gone out and layed down in the snow and let hypothermia take me away. lol

Linda_Owl's avatar

There are some biological cautions concerning cannibalism. There are still some tribes in the Amazon that practice cannibalism, especially consuming tribal members that have died – it was a religious thing. Unfortunately, the tribal members eventually began to have brain function problems that displayed as palsy & great difficulty in walking or performing any sort of task. The problem stemmed from the consumption of tribal members who carried brain chemicals akin to Mad Cow Disease & the more often these individuals were consumed by other tribal members, the more wide-spread the affliction became. There has been some progress made to convince these people that the affliction is the result of eating the dead & so there has been less of the cannibalism occurring & the brain function problems have now lessened.

Coloma's avatar

Note to self:

Maybe skip the Amazon for future travel destinations. lol

Seek's avatar

@Coloma Just pick up the movies “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Cannibal Ferox”. That should take care of the Amazon experience for you. ^_^

Coloma's avatar


Intriguing…hmmm. lol

Yeah, think I’ll take jungle rot and being swallowed by an Anaconda over an encounter with cannibals.

downtide's avatar

Soylent Green. Made by, for and of the people.

mattbrowne's avatar

Check out this article:

Widespread Cannibalism May Have Caused Prehistoric Prion Disease Epidemics, Science Study Suggests

Human flesh may have been a fairly regular menu item for our prehistoric ancestors, according to researchers. They say it’s the most likely explanation for their discovery that genes protecting against prion diseases—which can be spread by eating contaminated flesh—have long been widespread throughout the world.

Tribes giving up cannibalism increased their survival chances.

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