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-   -   Is it time for a voluntary Soylent Green? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=889866)

Jay Z 02-10-2020 05:42 PM

Is it time for a voluntary Soylent Green?
 
Suppose someone wants their body to be properly processed and available as food to people or animals. Shouldn't they be able to do so?

Senegoid 02-11-2020 02:48 AM

Well, I would opt for a "green" burial, so I could be recycled as worm- and fungus-food.

Little Nemo 02-11-2020 03:51 AM

Not sure this is a serious question but I'll assume it is and give a serious response.

A problem I would see is the danger of normalizing cannibalism. I think the pool of people willing to donate their corpses for human consumption would remain pretty low. But it would be enough to start a production process for converting people into food. And once this process exists, there could be pressure to expand it beyond volunteers. How are consumers going to know if the "soylent green" they're buying was produced from true volunteers or from people who were coerced into volunteering? Or just grabbed off the street and thrown into the vat?

Alessan 02-11-2020 03:57 AM

I agree. Humanity, as a rule, is not prone to moderation. Once it gets a taste for human flesh, it won't be able to stop.

Jay Z 02-11-2020 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 22132046)
Not sure this is a serious question but I'll assume it is and give a serious response.

A problem I would see is the danger of normalizing cannibalism. I think the pool of people willing to donate their corpses for human consumption would remain pretty low. But it would be enough to start a production process for converting people into food. And once this process exists, there could be pressure to expand it beyond volunteers. How are consumers going to know if the "soylent green" they're buying was produced from true volunteers or from people who were coerced into volunteering? Or just grabbed off the street and thrown into the vat?

It's semi serious.

I guess more specifically, I was wondering if it was currently legal for someone to have their own body disposed of that way. Not be eaten in the wild as carrion, but processed for food.

Mama Zappa 02-11-2020 09:07 AM

Well, laws vary by jurisdiction, and of course there are cultural prejudices against it (or for it!).

Technically in the US. cannibalism is NOT illegal, believe it or not. In that link though, it makes it clear that you might be liable for actions regarding desecration of the corpse. From that, I extrapolate: if someone else does the butchering and serves you some long-pig sausage, you're in the clear, though I suppose you might be charged with being an accessory to the act of desecration, or something.

Regardless of legality, it ain't a terribly good idea from a health standpoint. If you undercook Uncle George, whatever killed him might cause problems for you as well. However:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Medical News Today
the good news is, consuming cooked human flesh is no more dangerous than eating the cooked flesh of other animals. The same goes for the majority of the human body; the health implications are similar to that of eating any large omnivore.

. And of course, there's kuru, a prion disease directly associated with consuming Grandma's brain as part of the funerary rites in one tribe in Papua New Guinea. The linked article doesn't make it clear whether stewing the cerebellum is enough to kill the prions, but I wouldn't care to give it a try.

All in all, I'll wait for the full Circle of Life to go round before eating any relatives: let them molder into the soil, and I'll eat the cow that grazes in that field a couple years later.

Dewey Finn 02-11-2020 09:15 AM

How would this work exactly? There's a vast enterprise devoted to processing cows, pigs, chickens and a few other domestic animals to produce meat for consumption. I really doubt enough people are going to volunteer for this for there to be a similar enterprise, so processing would be manual. And who is going to do that? Personally, I don't want them living near me.

FlikTheBlue 02-11-2020 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mama Zappa (Post 22132405)
Well, laws vary by jurisdiction, and of course there are cultural prejudices against it (or for it!).

Technically in the US. cannibalism is NOT illegal, believe it or not. In that link though, it makes it clear that you might be liable for actions regarding desecration of the corpse. From that, I extrapolate: if someone else does the butchering and serves you some long-pig sausage, you're in the clear, though I suppose you might be charged with being an accessory to the act of desecration, or something.

Regardless of legality, it ain't a terribly good idea from a health standpoint. If you undercook Uncle George, whatever killed him might cause problems for you as well. However: . And of course, there's kuru, a prion disease directly associated with consuming Grandma's brain as part of the funerary rites in one tribe in Papua New Guinea. The linked article doesn't make it clear whether stewing the cerebellum is enough to kill the prions, but I wouldn't care to give it a try.

Good call. Stewing Grandmaís cerebellum would in fact not be sufficient to render the prions safe. Since they arenít living to begin with killing them isnít exactly an option.

Ashtura 02-11-2020 12:08 PM

I'm of the opinion that cannibalism should be a desperate last resort.

Dr_Paprika 02-11-2020 12:16 PM

I doubt it is legal but don’t know.

It’s a bad idea - socially disgusting and with possible psychological and health implications. If it tastes bad it’s an empty gesture. And if it tastes delicious, things could be even worse.

muldoonthief 02-11-2020 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 22132049)
I agree. Humanity, as a rule, is not prone to moderation. Once it gets a taste for human flesh, it won't be able to stop.

Indeed. Once you get a taste of delicious, delicious human meat, nothing else satisfies you ever again for the rest of your life.

RioRico 02-11-2020 05:16 PM

Consider the "voluntary" part. Who would volunteer? The old and the suicidal. Why not just establish Ethical Suicide Parlors? Show ID that you're over 16 and it's sayonara, luzer. If destined for human food, might some powerless folks be induced to "volunteer"? Or let's say that capital punishment included rendering the executed into chow. Would cans of Soylent Green be labeled "voluntary" and "non-voluntary", depending?

Ruken 02-11-2020 05:30 PM

Many medications approved for people are not approved for use in animals that will be fed to humans. It's one of the main reasons I have no interest in eating horse meat.

I suppose with sufficient processing, this might not be an issue. But then I wonder about economic viability of the program.

ASL v2.0 02-11-2020 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 22132416)
How would this work exactly? There's a vast enterprise devoted to processing cows, pigs, chickens and a few other domestic animals to produce meat for consumption. I really doubt enough people are going to volunteer for this for there to be a similar enterprise, so processing would be manual. And who is going to do that? Personally, I don't want them living near me.

Well, the way they handled it in the film of the same name was they had a voluntary euthanasia program with a few minutes of real nice nature footage and classical music. Then when you died, they put you and a bunch of other edibles into a dump truck, with a change out of drivers in the middle to ensure no one knew the ingredients.

Since the thread posits a voluntary program with people actually knowing what their body is going to, I should say it probably doesnít need to be anywhere near as elaborate a deception, but the centralized processing could be done all the same way.

scr4 02-11-2020 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RioRico (Post 22133540)
Consider the "voluntary" part. Who would volunteer? The old and the suicidal. Why not just establish Ethical Suicide Parlors?

Voluntary cannibalism does not necessarily mean voluntary death. It could simply be one of the options for body disposal (alternative to cremation or burial) to be specified in the will.


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