Why Do Cannibals Eat People?

To civilized people, the practice of cannibalism, or eating human flesh, is a horrible thought! Yet it was practiced by many primitive tribes and may still be practiced in some parts of the world today.

These tribes didn’t eat human flesh because they liked it; they did it because it was usually part of a religious observance or part of a sacred ceremony.

Ancient tribes of India ate their parents as a sign of respect and honor. Many primitive people believed that they could acquire the traits of people they admired or respected by eating them, just as they ate lions to become lionhearted; deer, so they could run fast; and foxes, to be cunning.

Nobody is certain how many cannibal tribes exist today. Some say none; others say that there are still several tribes on the South Pacific island of New Guinea practicing cannibalism.

The rarest disease in the world, called Kuru, or laughing sickness, affects only the cannibals of New Guinea and is believed to be caused by eating human brains!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

52 thoughts on “Why Do Cannibals Eat People?”

  1. what drives somone to canniblism? how could they bare the thought of doung that? what happend in there life to drive tem to do that?

  2. I don’t look at cannibalism as a disease. I think to eat another human being you either can’t be in your right mind, you have some sort of different disease, your in some kind of deep depression, or you are undergoing various emotions that have been triggered by another existing factor.

  3. It is immorally wrong. I don’t care what religion they believe because there are no other gods but only one God who says “You must not murder.” One of Ten Commandments. All things are created by God, and we have free will to believe in Jesus who is Son of God to go to heaven, or don’t. All other religions will lead to hell because Jesus is only way to save us from hell if we confess our sins to Jesus and believe in Him.

  4. If you are raised to be one you obviously would not frown upon it. I’m vegetarian and often I encounter people who ask me “How can you love without meat!?!” well… the same goes for the cannibols. Your either raised into it or it’s something you get use to. Besides… what makes the cannibols so different from those people who be-headed or burnt people just because of their faith?

  5. I am absolutely terrified of cannibals i wish to never encounter one. They are not human to me to be able to kill their own kind to eat their friends or family is just wrong. Morally wrong and in common sense it is wrong. If i was given the choice to ever die of hunger of to eat anothers life i would rather die of hunger.How can anyone go through with eating human flesh. When they have animals to eat now they still eat humans. I’d love to wish it was all a myth a story from a comic but it is very much true unfortunately. Makes me sick to think someone can go through with that surely with your mind you are able to think this is wrong they are human just like me why should i end their life! but no they just think that persons life meant nothing they are just food to me i don’t care if they have a family ill eat them.

    Gives me nightmares to think of cannibals eating someone. Are they like humans? do they hold human converstations or do they just kill all day? i’d like to now that one thing.

  6. Amen brother!!! thanks for understanding that my people are just as human like as to those who burn people because of their faith. I myself are a cannibal and was raised as one. Me and my people are cannibals but we have a tradition where we can eat human brains because we believe that it will make us more stronger mentally. I appreciate your understand that we are all humans no matter what we eat and believe in. CAN I GET AND AMEN!!! AMEN

  7. lets just say yall are making me hungry thinking about my people being weird because we eat people. mind your own business and worry about your own people. If I ever come to america I will eat all you tasty humans. Better watch your back fools!!!= }-

  8. We are not humyns at all, we are vampyres from Dorathor. I Cannibalion, is the ruler of vampyre cannibals in New York. We are the perfect predator, because we look and act humyn even though we are nothing like your kind. If you have any more questions please ask, and I will gladly answer truthfully for you. Knolege is power, only to the unintelligent. My kind only eat eachother during ritual sacrifice to me or the other rulers, but we always drink blood. Farewell humyn.

  9. We Kill people to eat.
    Back about 8 billion years ago, tribes did it for other reasons.
    Human’s actually taste mostly like normal meat.
    It also has to do with what your diet it.
    If you eat only fruit, you’ll probably taste sweet.
    If you eat unhealthy food you’ll probably give us General anaemia.
    Which mostly kills us off.
    I for one never have never gotten General anaemia, and I hope I never do.

  10. Cannibals are sick people trying to run away from God. People in the world are trying to do things their own way to take the easy way out because deep down they are scared. All other ways that contradicts scripture if from Satan. We are all humans in the image of God and no we do not come from apes.

  11. Prove your statement…..prove there is a “god”…prove this “satan” exist …..o yea prove evolution didnt take place eather

  12. cannibals are like vultures, those birds which eat dead animals even their own kind!
    they are cheap human beings!you would never see a lion eating another lion or an eagle eating its own kind,why? although they are ANIMALS they still have pride and respect their own kind!
    there always is some useless and cheap creatures among others,some people like einstein use their lives creating things to help people,some other on the other hand are useless and dont know what to do with their life, kill humans and eat them!
    bravo idiots!
    and the funny thing is they always say “you people dont know what we know we’re so smart u cant see the things we see” well f you and kill yourself you idiots!
    laughable creatures

  13. it is very disgusting to eat human beings..God provides us everything to survive.there is no reason for us to become a monster!!!!!!

  14. Demi:hello… i would like to send a message to all the people who say they are “vampire” or whatever…
    you have no idea as to what true demons are like.
    you have no idea how to even spell.
    therefore, if you are truely cannibals, i invite you to find ME specificaly.
    i would LOOOOOVE to meat you. (haha puns…)
    Ir:some of you have a god complex…

  15. well, you obviously have been brainwashed to believe your religious cult is right, o_O who are you to say there religious beliefs are wrong? Point blank religion is a matter of opinion. & btw- christians stole half there religion from egyptians, pagans, etc.. research!!!!! Everyone is entitled to an opinion no matter how worthless it may be- For all u know gawds an alien. o_O

  16. I heard humans taste like chicken mmm tasty.

    On a serious note, yes i think i could eat another human if it meant I would survive some extreme situation (Would´nt kill´em just eat the ones already dead.).

  17. Are you confused between Indian (native of INDIA) and Indian (Native American) ???
    If you are referring Indian, native of INDIA (country) then your statement is NOT true. May you can share with us the name of the tribe.

  18. yo James… don’t we Catholics take the body and blood of Christ every Sunday? (or whenever we attend mass).

  19. I heard one time that a woman was married to the reigning C.E.O of the Pepsi Cola Company. Being an adventurer he went on many safaris throughout the world. He made a fatal mistake in trekking through an area known to inhabit Cannibals. When he didn’t return his wife put together a search party then accompanied them to search for the Pepsi Cola Magnate. Once there they captured a small party of Cannibals. Upon interrogation by a member of the party who spoke the language,found out that her husband HAD been eaten.She asked then if they ate his “thing” They replied without hesitation “NO, things go better with Coke”

  20. cannibolism isnt about religion. tribes back then sometimes didnt have a choice but to eat humans. it was either they ate or they died of starvation. survival of the fitest. if ur a cannibal these days ur messed up in the head. or very picky about ur meat

  21. Just because they have a different religion doesn’t mean they’re a freak. I wouldn’t like to encounter one of them, still, but they are still people. They just have different beliefs.

  22. To eat , or not to eat , that is up to where you were born. Cannibalism was part of a lot of cultures, even the people from Europe. History only tells of things from the victors point of view, Why do you think the history books written by the people of European decent tells of only their side of the story. That old adage,” too the victors goes the spoils ” rings so true. There or signs of this in archaeological sites all over the world . Is it wrong ? It’s all in where you , or when you where born . Food is what sustains us humans, starvation tend to bring out the cannibalism in us ,the plane crash in the Andes is just one of the examples. Cannibalism is even mentioned in the so call words of god, in the old testament god commanded them to eat the flesh of their enemies , or be eaten by their enemies , it’s all in how you interpret it . So cannibalism is all in how you view it, is it wrong , or is it right depends on the person who practices it. I will never say I want, but then , we were poor and I went to bed hungry a lot of times, I could not see bringing myself to kill another human for food, Who among you have ever been so hungry that you would do that, instead do as I did as a child, have a jam sandwich, Take two pieces of bread and jam them together .

  23. IF you eat someone, if i eat someone (which i dont think will happen) if they eat someone, WHO cares? The worlds gotta end someday right?

  24. I GOTTA QUESTION!!!! Do they eat skinny people, because I’m 5’1 and 69 lbs and I’m way underweight for my height and age.

  25. Ok, what do you gain from eating your brother or sister, aunt or mum???…your mind is warped into thinking it is alright to eat a human!! wake up- are you really content within yourself? do you have real friends or family? how can you trust anyone if the cards on the table are waiting for yourself to be on the menu…..what happened to your sight? do you not feel the sunshine or the fresh air? do you not see the fruit on tree’s as juicy and delicious? is bacon not crispy and even tempting to a vegetarian…..people have weird hobbies or religions….some good some not so good- give people a break and stop influencing others minds and creating fears upon the innocent hearts – it is fine if you want to be a part of hell to be around or hell to trust or hell to talk too or listen too….your life is hellish ways…its a nightmare for yourself, you are sick and you probably know it…look around find a new hobby….try one that feeds you love, get yourself a real life before your hell pit closes over and you have no-one but…. the nightmares you created in your own mind, heart, body and soul. save yourselves and get a real life….stop playing games and grow up….collect respect, trust and friends, collect a good life…be good to yourself and others.

  26. I agree… i don’t believe in cannibalism but I also don’t think they are freaks and I am shur they think your a freak fro not eating people, But that is beside the point! Don’t say someone is a freak if you don’t understand why they do what they do!

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read that!

  27. Some background: Cannibalism is often associated with island dwellers, such as New Guinea and other south Pacific islands. Cannibalism has also been found in inland arctic areas, and in areas that are largely infertile, such as deserts.
    In these areas, a condition known as Kwashiorkor is common. Kwashiorkor is a protein deficiency, with profoundly disabling symptoms.
    Cannibalism follows naturally from this set of conditions, because where the natural diet does not provide enough protein, humans themselves represent the only source of dietary protein. Isolated cases of cannibalism such as the Donner party and the soccer team stranded in the Andes were also highly isolated and had limited food supply.
    Any religious rites or cultural practices would have followed from these conditions, not the other way around.

  28. I honestly doubt that you’d rather starve. It’s a basic human instinct – survive at all costs. You may not believe that you would but you wouldn’t know until you were in that situation. A humans need for survival is one of the strongest. I was born into vegetarianism, and I wouldn’t eat an animal, but intellectually I know that if that was the only choice for survival I’d probably take it, and there’s no use to denying it. Now if your self control is that good, then I commend you. And your point of view to cannibals is probably similar to mine on people who eat meat, I just can’t get my head around why people would want to eat a carcass of an animal that was once alive. I don’t mean to sound obnoxious by contradicting you, but from what I understand of human nature, the need to survive is one of the most strongest and basic instincts, and as I have said before, if you could rather die, then I commend your self control.

  29. You realize no one here is actually a cannibal, right? Everybody’s just screwing around. Take a chill pill and stop forcing religion on people. It’s not cool.

  30. Um, excuse me, but lions DO eat other lions sometimes when male lions take over other prides they kill and eat the cubs, no sense in wasting some protein. There is no such thing as pride and respect in the wild when it comes to the survival of that male lion’s genes to be passed on, it’s about survival and nothing else! Cannibalism is NOT limited to humans, it’s just another ugly side to nature, period. I think hyenas are most notorious for cannibalism, they start killing their own siblings right when they’re born!

  31. They didn’t MURDER their people in order to eat their flesh, it is after they have already died. Its part of their religion- something to do with wanting the spirit of the person who’s died to be part of them and carry on living or something. So technically they’re not breaking the commandment: “You must not murder” although i do think it is humanly wrong and makes me sick to think that someone could eat the flesh of another human being.

  32. Actually, most cannibalistic tribes openly say they like the taste of human meat, and that if they didn’t have to fear being punished by the government they would revert back to cannibalism. Heck, in remote parts of Fiji, etc. cannibalism is still practiced. I would never do it, but as long as they’re out in the middle of the rain forest or w/e and not living next door to me, they can do whatever they want.

  33. I agree why call someone a freak if they dont think your a freak? To most people who think they are nasty, think of it this way once someone starts something they cant stop unless old habbits will die hard, but still in other countrys their tired of eating the same thing or tired of being usless in their country they want to gain honor and respect, or in other words they just want a meal or snack. To most people who think they are right, You are right and wrong, To eat someone is a sin, but also is normal to people who eat humans theirs no juding but still its wrong to eat your own kinds..

  34. Exactly on cinnamon toast crunch the creal was eating them selves and others so basicly its just for survival..

  35. actually cannibalism isn’t bad im 13 and get the thoughts eating ppl all the time and doesn’t affect me it a good feeling nothing is wrong about it

  36. To all the Christians hating on ancient Religious Cannibals. You all get around to PRETEND to eat your saviors flesh and drink his blood, all this for some spiritual purpose. Basically you’re doing the Exact same thing, except they weren’t too scared to commit to actually eating flesh.

    Now that’s out of the way… Personally, I don’t care if you’re a Cannibal or not. People fear Cannibals because they seem to think theses people can’t control themselves and will eat any other humans on some insanity driven urge. Well I eat Cow Steak, doesn’t mean I’ma run up to some Farmer heard and dig in whenever I see them/get hungry. Cannibalism is often done for religious reasons or due to starvation. While those who do so because of survival probably have major mental problems as a result, those who do it willingly because of Religious reasons probably don’t have the same issues. As it’s been said, they just don’t see anything wrong with it. (That having been said, some want to eat Human Flesh BECAUSE they’re crazy. Those people are Crazy, obviously.)

  37. It is really terrible that human itself eat human meat . i cant understand that what make them to do like this ? does the cannibals have some cultural behind it or due to starvation .

  38. I don’t think its wrong at all. What most people are forgetting is that humans are animals. We are no better than any other part of the animal kingdom. We may like to think we are but but, no . I have never eaten human flesh but in the right situation, say starvation, i would eat the hell out of some poor sap. Because its either we both sit here as buddies and die or I chow down and go on living for a little while longer.

  39. I feel these tribes and anyone eating humans can have a bad health affect………like Mad Cow Disease and this could eventuially get to the United States and other places like Aids and Mad Cow disease etc.

  40. cannibalism bro….. i guess it might have started thousands of years before, when tribal people surviving in some parts of world would have used cannibalism as the punishment for an guilty person… and this might have also continued by their future generations… and and and when some people finded this human flesh tastier then they might have started killing even innocent people and eat… definately the persons involved in this act were ruthless and they cant have any emotions for any one…. it is very disappointing that even today in some parts of world cannibalism is practiced…. we should do something to stop this…

  41. nothing we can do to stop this nonsense we all are scared for this eating flesh of a person could we stop this for making them in prison but maybe before we stop them think twice because it may start occuring to us maybe its a punishment to us for making the world different than the way it was before i wish that it wont happened to anyone.

  42. God couldn’t help you if i was starving to death. Seeing how its pretty obvious we evolved and didn’t just show up one day its probably been happening for millions of years not 5000. Just because youv’e been living the good life here in the U.S. dont mean its like this everywhere else. Please stay strong in your false faiths because the rest of us will be eating your ass! An open mind will get you far!

  43. I dont understand how someone can eat another human flesh and don’t think twice about it. Like, I know they have to have some type of remorse or feel some type of way by practicing this cruel and unusual practice. I understand it was a part of a religion once but now that’s all over and it’s bad enough that we’re killing animals to eat, they wanna kill humans also. That’s ridiculous, cannibals need help!!

  44. Cannibalism isn’t good from my perspective but people only do it for their own good to survive and that was the only way to survive and trust me they wouldn’t do it if they werent about to die so they ate one another to keep from starving to death and dying

  45. only mentally ill people eat humans. Eew… That’s so gross! They’re like just lazy to hunt animals or gather fruits around since they live in forests. Why do they have to live in this world they are all going to hell… MURDERERS.

  46. cannabalism is sick and twisted, only people with problems and wacky religions do this horrid stuff. cannabalistic people only do it because they feel alone and get a sense of power while eating the meat……….. ick. THINK PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! ur killing off ur own kind. they r people to. think of what ur doing!!!

  47. Cannabalism is sick and gross do yall eat your brothers and sisters too and you are freaks taking young and old people life away. I mean to the people saying they believe in God Amen Brothers and Sisters to the ones who think it so cool to eat people well you burn when the world ends but dont be begging to God to let you in heaven when you sick freaks eat so many people. And to me you’re like zombies cause you eat your own kind even if I were starving never do it.

  48. While I can’t imagine my self ever being in a situation where I need to resort to Cannibalism, I’m sure I might be able if it meant the difference between life or death, sorry if people get offended for me having a survival instinct…woild I ever enjoy cannibalism, probably not, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna lay down and starve because I can’t find any animals to hunt. Also the smartass in me just can’t help but quote a old world war 2 era song, to whoever tried saying they’re too bony to be eaten, “Closer to the bone, sweeter is the meat”…LOL

  49. Cannibals give me the creeps *shudders*
    Earlier, I watched the “Interview with a Cannibal” on Youtube.
    I took a shower later and felt like I was about to be eaten by that Japanese psycho.
    I don’t believe in any of that religion stuff that they put out there, but I still think it’s
    immoral to eat your own kind. And not just for humans, animals too. All this talk is
    freaky and it can take us far down the rabbit hole.

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