Published on November 18, 2012 | by Amy Tanikie-Montagnani

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The human meat market

A women in white overalls behind a stall of meat

Various organisations and websites pretend to sell human meat. [Flickr]

“Tired of ol’ beef and chicken? Why not try something different…get your human meat from us in Smithfields today. It’s your last chance.”

That’s what the pop-up butchers shop Wesker and Son (Wholesale Meats) tweeted on September 29, the second and last day of their “human flesh” sale event.

Some of the body parts they offered included J’avo Caught Human Thigh Steak and Peppered Human & Lemon Sausages, hands, arms, eyeballs and even penises and buttocks.

Fortunately it was just a publicity stunt, orchestrated by the creators of computer games, Capcom, to promote the release of their new Resident Evil 6.

The very realistic looking parts of human anatomy were in fact made from various pork products, including parma ham, bacon and sausages.

The butcher shop led the customers through a morgue area, filled with rows of headless human bodies hung from metal hooks, including even a whole person’s body made of meat lay on an operating table, as actors playing the roles of butchers and surgeons pretended to chop and decapitate limbs.

This is not the first hoax based upon the idea of selling or eating human flesh.

While most of us keep the macabre topic of cannibalism at arm’s length, website ManBeef.com, which ran from 2001 until 2005, claimed to process human flesh into products for consumption, offering even some cannibalistic recipes.

Its Human Meat Products Section, was where you would find a, “selection of human meat cuts as well as other human products,” from, “Sausages and Soup Bones to Bouillon, and stock.”

ManBeef.com boasted that, “every cut of human meat we sell has been selected for its superb quality and flawless texture.”

Investigation

ManBeef is listed in the archive of museumofhoaxes.com as it apparently caused so much attention that, “at one point it was receiving a half-million hits per day.”

It had caused such a stir that, “the U.S Food & Drug Administration eventually felt compelled to investigate.” But when they did, they found no proof that the company was in possession of any human flesh, “In other words the site was a hoax.”

Another website turned up in 2005 claiming to sell the product Hufu. Hufu was any vegetarian’s nightmare. It is basically the same as tofu, but made to resemble the flesh of human beings in both taste and texture, perfect for, “cannibals who want to quit.”

However the product did not really exist, and was a fictitious brand thought up by then-student Mark Nuckhols.

Over the media

Websites are not the only ones promoting human flesh to gain an audience. In 2010 a particularly distasteful advertising campaign was displayed in German newspapers.

A restaurant, named Flime, appealed for donors and diners to offer up body parts to be transformed, “into gourmet meals according to the age-old cooking habits of an Amazonian tribe infamous for its cannibalism.”

The owners, who stayed anonymous, stated they would happily accept any part of the human body, and said they were looking to hire an, “open-minded surgeon.”

It was inspired by the indigenous, Waricaca Tribe native to Brazil, who, “once practised the ritual of ‘compassionate cannibalism’, or eating parts of the corpse of a loved one to emphasise the connection between the living and the dead” the eatery suggested serving the body parts in, “Traditional Brazilian dishes” the Guardian reported

The restaurant’s advertisement apparently put the spotlight on a rising underground cannibal movement, as experts at the time observed around 800 cannibal followers in Germany alone.

Made for TV

Although only a small fraction had ever actually committed an act of cannibalism, and the restaurant’s advertisements were definitely real, there was no evidence Flime really did exist.

At the end of 2011 however Dutch Broadcasters BNN, who have a history for hoaxes took it a step further. As reported by huffingtonpost.com, two television hosts on the show Guinea Pigs committed a cannibalistic act by eating each other’s flesh.

Each one had a small piece of tissue from their buttocks, surgically removed for the stunt. It was verified by witnesses, who watched the flesh being prepared by a chef, before consuming it.

Spokesman Thijs Verheij, said the event was in fact more than a stunt, as, “If at the end of all the buildup we said ‘just kidding,’ we’d look like fools.”

The defence lawyer for Guinea Pigs said that cannibalism is not explicitly illegal in the Netherlands, but was met with the argument that, “cutting and removing flesh from a healthy body without medical reason” is against the law, and that “eating meat obtained in this way is … punishable!”

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