A Modest Proposal: Use people, not animals

[Editorial note: The title was not my choice. 2 April 2002]

With a few exceptions, humans have never been much into cannibalism, which is rather fortunate because humans as a species would not have amounted to much if they had insisted upon eating their relations. What if Eve had gnawed off an arm or two of Adam's while he was sleeping? Or if Columbus' men had decided after a week to eat him and turn around? Not very pleasant thoughts.

Humans, until the last two or three thousand years, could not afford to worry about being eaten by members of their own species - they had enough to worry about from all the other animals. In the past, it only made sense to eat animals because they were the competition. Now, humans are hardly threatened by other species. Consequently, it would be in the best interests of each person to fall back on the tried and true method of eating the competition - the only difference being that they'd now be eating other people.

People can easily fill the roles other animals play in our society. Think of how easily the meat industry could be reorganized. Texas alone has thousands upon thousands of cages and pens used to house cattle and chicken. These could readily be converted to hold people. By using the existing machinery, which dumps food and water into the cages several times a day, a select few people could manage the farm. There wouldn't be any need to expose the public to the realities of the new meat industry.

Medical experimentation could also be improved dramatically, particularly in the area of physiological research. The use of humans in laboratories would eliminate any inconsistencies in the data which arise from the differences between humans and other animals. For example, we often give "lower" primates severe spinal column and brain injuries to study the effects of automobile accidents on humans. By using mutiple DWI offenders instead of baboons or chimpanzees, we would improve not only the accuracy of our data, but also the safety of the public roads. The cosmetics industry is crying out for reform. There's no use in subjecting rabbits to a lifetime of testing eye makeup while there are ample numbers of sorority girls who would jump at the chance. The process could save the cosmetics companies millions in animal care. Sorority girls would volunteer by the truckload once they realized they could be the first to have the latest eye shadow by Lancome.

By substituting humans in the place of animals, we could also end the threat that hunting poses to America's wildlife. Convincing thousands of America's Lite beer drinkers to give up hunting would be difficult. Instead, just let hunters hunt each other. The popularity of "survival games" demonstrates the desire humans already have to hunt other humans. Furthermore, the prisons could be opened on Sundays to appease those hunters who are too timid to shoot at anything that can shoot back. This would be a very effective deterrent against crime.

Such simple ideas have been long overlooked, with the exception of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. The implementation of these suggestions could solve a multitude of problems facing present-day humanity. Many people may be shocked at the idea of killing humans for food and resources, but people killing people tends to be the rule rather than the exception in humans' brief history. We might as well make the best of it.

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