Rethinking cannibalism

There’s a recent issue of Time magazine with a cover story entitled “What Animals Think” which discusses the current state of science in regards to measuring how aware and self-conscious animals are about themselves and others. It’s fascinating stuff, much of it centered around a 29-year-old bonobo ape who has a very rich and complex vocabulary (not just nouns and verbs.)

There’s a moral aspect to the article as well. Obviously, if animals are smarter than we think, that perhaps we should rethink killing, torturing (which is what much of animal research is) and eating them. The animal rights ethicist Pete Singer is quoted; he basically argues that you should only eat animals that are devoid of consciousness, such as oysters and mussels. It strikes me that there’s perhaps another tact one can take here. For years, we’ve been allowing ourselves to eat animals based on the assumption that they are not like us. If science is slowly revealing that they are like us, perhaps we should then allow ourselves to eat each other. Certainly, cannibalism would be helpful in dealing with many of the issues facing humanity: overpopulation, starvation, obesity, global warming.

Can a moral case be made for cannibalism? I think it’s a question science needs to take a long hard look at.

2 Responses to “Rethinking cannibalism”


  1. John Saleeby

    I won’t write funny Humor articles for a web site advocating cannibalism. Bad enough you’re writing about twenty year Prince albums!

  2. Wil

    I’m not advocating cannibalism. I’m advocating that we explore whether we should be advocating cannibalism.

    MOM! Fried baby again!?