On the 26th of January, a group of students at Colchester Sixth form college huddled into a philosophy classroom, ready to discuss a rather taboo topic- the ethics of cannibalism. I myself felt rather apprehensive about the topic, wondering what could be said about such a clearly immoral act. However, the talk, led by Dr Josh Andrews from the Department of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion at Bangor University, dissected the subject fully and gave us insight into the historical and religious roots of cannibalism, and how it takes its form in the modern day. 

Subverting from the serial killer-type cannibalism, the talk explored the historical links of cannibalism to different tribes and religious groups, expanding on the idea that cannibalism, in certain religions, is seen as a way of showing respect or love to the deceased or God. This idea astounded me and seemed unnerving, especially due to how cannibalism is viewed and portrayed in Western media and cultures. 

The talk particularly piqued my interest when the topic of cannibalism in the modern day came up, with new technology allowing your very own human cheek cells to be cloned and made into food-safe meat products. The thought of this audibly revolted or intrigued people amongst the room, as we each individually reflected on whether we would eat a burger made of our own cells or not. This proposal was a perfect way to reflect on the moral issues of cannibalism brought up throughout the talk and reflect on the taboo surrounding it. 

The talk was enlightening, educational and at times off-putting yet opened my eyes past the one form of cannibalism I was used to (associated with murder and cruelty) and showed us a diversity of cultures and religions in which this practice was, or still is ,the norm.