why is eating animals completely safe and healthy but eating other human beings dangerous (from cannibalism) for us?

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why is eating animals completely safe and healthy but eating other human beings dangerous (from cannibalism) for us?

In: Biology

Humans produce a thing called “prions” which cause literal madness. When a human eats another human, those prions go to the person’s brain and eats holes in it.

Though, it is less likely to get infected when eating parts of the body farther from the brain and spinal cord, such as the thigh. Human thigh is notoriously known as “long pig” as it tastes similar to pork. You can still get brain-eating prion diseases from thigh-meat, but it’s waaaaaaay less likely.

Slightly related: Mad cow disease is caused the same way in cows. When a cow eats infected meat of other cows, they get brain holes.

A big reason is disease: it is difficult for pathogens to “jump” from species to species. Thus, when dealing with human meat, one risks exposure to pathogens that are perfectly ready to make home in the human doing cooking and eating.

Also, since the person being eaten is dead, it is not too unlikely that they died of disease and their body is overrun with bacteria or virus desperate to get into new host.

Two main reasons.

First and the obvious one is that it is really bad for the long term survival of a species. Humans, as you might have noticed, take their sweet time to grow.

It takes a lot of food for us to produce the meat in our bodies. Investing all that time and energy to basically get eaten as livestock is really inefficient. It’s much better to make us work and gather other kinds of food instead.

Secondly, and the more subtle reason, is disease. See, animals have their own diseases, but most of the time they are harmless to us simply because they aren’t adapted to infect us.

But other humans carry infectious diseases that will most certainly work in your body too because, well, they’re human diseases.

If cannibalism was prevalent, then it would be one of the most effective ways for diseases to evolve and spread.

Eating sick people will probably give you the same illness as them. Eating a sick chicken is less risky.

Well because there’s two scenarios here.

Killing and eating people, meaning hunting them down and cooking them up, is highly uncooperative, and raises the odds that all the not people hunting and eating people that do cooperate with one another band together hunt down and genocide the people eating people for being psychotic people hunters and eaters to ensure their own collective long term survival.

This isn’t even guessing, some great lakes nations legend about the wendigo more or less describes this exact process, although with a single legendary monster hunter instead of a band of the angry villagers come to burn Frankenstein’s monster.

The other more “peaceful” option is cannibalism as a funerary procedure. Which, that’s a fresh corpse that died naturally, it’s at a much higher likliehood to harbor illness since it’s a dead body that was killed by *something* that wasn’t you. Other people say it can transmit madness, but frankly I think someone capable of eating another person was already a bit of a head case. The bigger concern aside from the prions others have mentioned are the possible pathogens that this person was carrying and that probably killed them, pathogens which, being in the dead body already, might stand a higher likliehood of getting past your own natural defenses.

This is also low-key why funerary rites are such a big deal almost universally, proper disposal of the dead to a pre germ theory civilization would have literally been the difference between life and a healthy smitin’ at the hands of whatever god doesn’t like you ‘disrespecting the dead’ by just letting them rot in a pile somewhere

There is no difference. Cannibalism isn’t inherently dangerous. Humans are animals. As a rule of thumb, don’t eat sick animals. Other than that, meat is meat. Prion arguments apply to *any* animals we eat.

It might be dangerous because it is disgusting and against many laws and forbidden by many religions.

Basically for the same reason you shouldn’t get sneezed on by other humans, viruses don’t tend to affect a ton of species,( thats why you wont get sick if your dog sneezes in your face)and there are certain viruses that you’ll get from eating things infected with said virus.

Eating animals isn’t completely safe and healthy nor is eating humans dangerous.

You’re more likely to get sick from eating a human than eating store bought meat because humans aren’t subject to meat industry health standard checks.

But having said that, the average healthy human caught off the street and freshly slaughtered probably wouldn’t make you sick provided you cooked it thoroughly.

A wild animal however is way more risky than human or store meat and there’s a fair chance you could get a bug from it.

Honestly, the biggest danger in eating humans is getting arrested.

EDIT: In before “but muh prions”. No. Unless the human you’ve caught is infected with something like CJD or Kuru (like one a million) You’re not going to get a brain disease from eating it.

EDIT2: why is everyone asking about eating people today?