A Republican lawmaker in Idaho introduced a bill on Thursday meant to expand the state’s cannibalism law to make it illegal to feed people to other people who don’t know they’re eating people.
Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, explained that she had heard about this whole human composting thing that’s been legalized in several states in the last few years and became very concerned about the possibility of this leading to people being served “the flesh or blood of a human being” without their “knowledge or consent.”
“I didn’t want to see that in my Home Depot stores,” Scott said, assuming that this would actually mean she could go to the hardware store and pick up a bag full of wood-chipped human flesh to spread around her backyard garden.
Human composting, of course, does not work like that. As weird as it may sound initially, it’s actually an environmentally responsible way to dispose of human remains. (Rebecca is a huge fan and intends to be carted off to Washington state.) Though really — is it that much more weird than burying said bodies in the ground, in an obscenely expensive box that no one is ever going to see again or setting them on fire? Not so much! Also, many religions have long chosen to go with casket-free “natural burials” for their adherents. This is really just that with some wood-chips, straw and microbes thrown in there in order to ensure that the body decomposes in a way that is good for the soil.
It feels important to note here that even if someone did grow tomatoes in that soil, it would not mean their marinara was made out of people.
But this was not Scott’s only concern. You see, she was on an airplane recently and she watched a show where they fed people “human sausage” and didn’t tell them until afterwards. She even sent the clip she saw to the Idaho Statesman as proof.
“They didn’t tell the people, they fed it to them,” she said, though she did acknowledge that it could be a “spoof.”
It doesn’t seem like she watched the whole clip, because if she had, she would have definitely known it was a “spoof,” as she would have heard the part where the host tells the contestants of the very real-sounding and looking game show “What’s In My Mouth?” that they are actually on Dana Carvey’s new TruTV prank show. (As an aside: Can we really not get better work for Dana Carvey? When is he going to enter his Oscar-winning indie drama era? Does Wes Anderson have nothing for him?)
In addition to that clip, Scott also sent the Statesman another clip of a Chinese official denying that the country sold Zambia human flesh disguised as tinned corned beef and light tuna, a previously debunked hoax.
Idaho is, actually, the only state that actually has an explicit law against cannibalism, though in other states that often comes under desecration or abuse of a corpse. It is definitely not legal to eat people anywhere in the United States, nor is it legal to serve people human flesh without their consent, even if the human flesh in question is an abusive husband who kinda had it coming or if meat is really expensive and you had been reduced to selling meat pies made from stray cat meat until a murderous barber started working out of your shop.
That is all very illegal anywhere you might go.
The laws on buying human bodies for research are, however, surprisingly pretty lax, so I suppose it would be theoretically possible for someone to legally buy a human body part and then eat it — but it’s very expensive, and while an arm and a leg won’t cost you an arm and a leg, they will probably cost you about $800. It really doesn’t seem like it would be worth it to go all out on something like that just to surreptitiously serve someone a humanburger without their knowledge or consent.
Hell, for that much, you could eat at Alinea, with wine-pairings included.
There was also that guy who served his friends his own amputated leg that he lost after a motorcycle crash, but they knew they were eating foot tacos.
As a deeply neurotic person/enjoyer of musical theater, I can fully understand the concern that one might someday be served human flesh without knowing it. I get it! I am still reeling from the Christmas Eve dinner at which I overheard one of my great aunts say, “Oh, Robyn just loves the eel pie!” I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. But it does seem that between OSHA and existing laws against murder — and, in Idaho, cannibalism — that it is already pretty darned illegal for someone to do that.
Though if I’m wrong, I might be with her on this.