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What In The Cannibal?

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

What comes to your mind when you think of the word cannibal? Do you imagine a zombie apocalypse where soul-less beings are hiding in the shadows waiting to devour you like a late-night snack? Many of us are just now becoming disgusted with the idea of eating animal flesh, and the concept of dead flesh rotting in our colons. We have faced so many surprises in 2020 from senseless murders, Covid-19, and natural disasters, so what other elements of surprise could we possibly endure? Well, on one sunny, winter morning I was sitting at my desk reading about culinary trends when an article from the New York Post appeared on my feed.

Ouroboros steak is being identified as beef made with human cells. Yes! You read that correctly, our world is in the process of normalizing eating yourself instead of animals. This will put a totally new twist on the phrase, "you are what you eat". I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to eat myself or anyone else. Ouroboros steak has been nominated by The Design Museum in the UK as the design of the year. According to the article written in the New York Post, a “DIY meal kit” for growing steaks made from human cells was recently nominated for the design of the year by the London-based Design Museum.

Named the Ouroboros Steak after the circular symbol of a snake eating itself tail-first, the hypothetical kit would come with everything one needs to use their own cells to grow miniature HUMAN MEAT STEAKS. “People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not,” Grace Knight, one of the designers, told Dezeen magazine. Growing an Ouroboros Steak would take about three months using cells taken from inside your cheeks, the magazine reported. For the collection of sample steaks on display in the museum, the team used human cell cultures purchased from the American Tissue Culture Collection and grew them with donated blood that expired and would have otherwise been destroyed. They preserved the final products in resin. “Expired human blood is a waste material in the medical system and is cheaper and more sustainable than FBS, but culturally less accepted,” Knight told Dezeen. Ourochef Inc is the company that is manufacturing these DIY human kits, this company was founded by Stefano Stanghellini and Alessandro Cipriano.

I can understand how Grace Knight would think that this form of eating is not cannibalism being that there is no actual flesh-eating, instead cells being used to create flesh. However, in my opinion, this seems to be the beginning of normalizing flesh-eating. What happens when people are not patient enough, wealthy enough, or desirous to grow their own cells after tasting this product. Will this not entice the human appetite to conform to the taste of human flesh and desire it, as many people desire animal flesh? We hunt, raise, and kill animals for food consumption. Will we begin to hunt, raise, and kill people for food consumption as well? What happens when a person is not satisfied with the taste of his/her own cells and would like to try another person's cells for food? There is just so much room for error with this way of thinking in my opinion. I do not understand the purpose of replacing animal flesh with cells grown into human flesh food. What makes this any less harmful for our bodies? I think that people who would like to abstain from meat should embrace a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. it seems as if nothing is considered sacred anymore in this world. If we are willing to eat ourselves and one another what else is left? Leave a comment and share your thoughts about this new phenomenon that is about to take our world by surprise, or maybe not!

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