While government subsidization of biofuel is pushing up grain and meat prices, and massive layoffs are forcing cutbacks in spending on food, some consumers have found a way to get around high prices-by eating their fellow man.
Long considered taboo, human flesh is making a comeback, even in such previously upscale markets as the US and Europe. Up until 2008, most cases of cannibalism outside the jungles of the Amazon, Africa and Papua New Guinea were related to mental illness. Now, police are noting an increase in ordinary consumers making the switch to "long pork".
Officer Mike Smolensk of the Fraternal Order of Polish Police Officers, an influential police organization in Illinois, said, "We used to see cats and dogs disappear in hard times, this time around the humans are going first."
Nutritionists believe this may be related to changes in diet in Western countries, with consumers demanding fattier cuts of meat. Pat Knowles, a USDA nutritionist said, "Cats and dogs are good for surreptitiously adding to beef trim for a spiced sausage, like salami. But as a steak or roast they are really too gamey and stringy for most people. Modern Americans, on the other hand, are fattier than prime grade beef and every bit as flavorful as pork. Once you get past the gore factor, it's easy to get hooked on it, or so I'm told."
Major supermarket chains have no plans to introduce human flesh to the display case. Some meat section managers we contacted noted the illegality of eating humans, while others were afraid of a negative response from militant vegetarians and non-cannibals-most simply hung up.
Neighborhood watch groups are warning overweight people to avoid walking alone at night in low traffic areas and along streets with many restaurants.
Two popular methods of bagging a kill for the home freezer were particularly noted by state police agencies. The "roadkill" method involves simply hitting a pedestrian with a car on a lonely stretch of road and taking the backstraps and hams. The "jacklighting" method involves shining a light at the quarry and shooting him or her with a rifle while he or she is blinded by the glare.
Officer Muldoony of the Irish Police Officers' Guild, representing many Boston area policemen, said, "We think people may be less than honest with their families about where this meat comes from. And there's the disposal issue. Most of these cannibals are not keen on disposing of inedible parts."
Game officers have been threatening to crack down on those who fail to fully utilize their kills, noting that "wanton waste" laws may be applied. "These are hard times, and I just can't bear to see the waste that many of these so called 'hunters' commit," said Leon Zedrick, of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Game Officers Union of California, an un-influential group.