This story is over 5 years old.

Question Of The Day

Would You Eat a Family Member to Survive?

"I reckon I could if they were dead. It's what they'd want."

North Korea's olympic team.  Photo by Matt May

North Korea may have become trivialised to within a millimetre of even being believable as a real place that exists, and sometimes those jokes are funny – as long as they don't rely on wholesale ripping off quotes from Team America – but they can sometimes make you forget about the very real issues the country is going through. Famine is a major one, with stories of starving rural families killing and eating their own children to survive emerging over the last couple of weeks, because all food is being routed to Pyongyang and areas housing anyone the government cares about.


Forcing situations like that to arise is clearly one of the most disturbing, abhorrent things a government could do its people, but it did get us thinking whether – put in the same position – we'd do the same. London, would you eat a family member to survive?

Becka, student: No, I couldn't bring myself to do that, I don't think. Even if I was, like, a day from death.

Even if they were dead already?
I think that actually happened, you know. A plane crashed and one half of the passengers ate the other half to survive, which I guess I might do. But I'd die before I ate my own family.

How about a pet?
Yeah, I’d die before doing that, too. I love my dog too much.

Okay, how about somebody else’s cat?
Yeah, I’d do that for sure, but not someone else's dog – I couldn't do it.

Sally, TV sales: Haha, no. There's no way.

What about your pets?
I don’t have a pet, so it’s hard to imagine. Although, I suppose I would eat my friends' pets if it came to it. So yes.

Cat or dog first?
Probably the cat, to be honest. I hate Chinese food and I know they eat dog, so the cat makes more sense.

Yeah, that whole sentence makes a lot of sense.

Lily, fashion student: No, certainly not. I couldn't eat anything I'd spoken to – family, pets, friends' pets; nothing. I'd honestly prefer to die.

What do you think about the North Koreans who've eaten their children in an attempt to avoid starvation?
That’s absolutely horrible.

Simon, drama student: It all depends on whether they were alive or not, I think.

So you'd eat them if they were dead?
Yeah, I think I could. I couldn't kill them then eat them, that would be too weird and I'd feel so awful. But I think I'd feel less awful if they were already dead and I was doing it to survive. It's what they'd want.


Could you kill a pet for food?
Maybe if it was a crap pet I could.

Fair enough.

Neil, journalist: No. No way, mate.

What about a pet?
Yeah, I reckon I would, but I don’t have any pets so I’m not really speaking from the heart. I don’t even eat meat, so that's a hard one for me to decide.

Good point. Let’s say you had a cat and a dog – which would you eat first?
The dog. I hate dogs and there’s more meat, so it would be cathartic and more worthwhile.

That's very pragmatic of you.

Previously - Have You Ever Pooped Your Pants?