by Tiger Tom
One thing you may not know about tigers is that they don’t go around looking for people to eat. To a healthy tiger in the wild, a human is approximately as appetizing as a parking meter. Only when they get so old or sick that they can’t catch anything else do Tigers eat people. People are very easy to catch because their senses are so dull. They can hardly smell or hear, and at night they are almost blind. There is a saying among tigers: Blind as a man. Among tigers, man-eating is a perversion practiced only by a minority. But for some reason people call all tigers “cruel” and “bloodthirsty.”
People who murder tigers are called sportsmen, but have you ever heard a tiger who kills a person called a sportstiger? That’s because people are speciesists. Remember the word. Speciesism. I use it a lot. It means a prejudice toward the interests of one’s own species and against those of others. Lots of humans who do not consider themselves to be be racists or sexists are often speciesists. Former governor Ann Richards of Texas, the darling of human minorities, once said about turkeys and Thanksgiving, “There can be few purposes higher than being the centerpiece of this great American dinner.” She said that because turkey raisers vote and turkeys don’t. It’s pure manshit. Ask a turkey his opinion of Thanksgiving. Do people really think cows are “honored” to become Big Macs and tigers to become rugs? And does Richards, also a big Bambi blaster, also think that deer and javelina pigs are honored to have their brains splattered by a hunk of flying metal thrown by her rifle?
Humans are great speciesists also when it comes to nutrition. They fret a lot about the nutrtional quality–the relative fat, protein, and cholesterol–of other species’corpses, but little is ever said of the effect of eating human bodies on vultures and tigers. In fact, humans show little concern for how their own dietary habits affect others who eat them. Here’s the only reference I can find. It’s from a book called Man-Eaters of Kumaon (Oxford Univ. Press, 1946) by a famous sportsman named Jim Corbett. Jim said:
It is a popular fallacy that all man-eaters are old and mangy, the mange being attributed to the excess of salt in human flesh. I am not competent to give any opinion on the relative quantity of salt in human or animal flesh; but I can, and I do, assert that a diet of human flesh, so far from having an injurious effect on the coat of man-eaters, has quite the opposite effect, for all the man-eaters I have seen have had remarkably fine coats.
Manshit. That’s his opinion. Mine is, “Show me a man-eating tiger, I’ll show you a cat with bad breath.” Humans are junk food for tigers.
Now, to my contest, which is about human nutrition. You probably won’t be able to think of an answer to my question, though. I based this story on one by Mark Reinhardt. Shakespeare had his Holinshed and I have my Mark Reinhardt. Here is the story of the Grumps. (Probably because of a transliteration problem, Mark thought they were called the Groans). Pay close attention to this story.
Creatures from the planet Grumpus have taken over Earth. These hideous beings are uglier than men and even more cunning and treacherous. It quickly becomes obvious that the Grumps, who have a voracious appetie for flesh, plan to use Earth as a giant ranch to provide human meat for the tables of Grumpus.
You were unlucky enough to be chosen representative of the human race. It’s your job to attempt to change the Grumps’ ideas. You are taken to their leader, a sexless being who, seeing that his/her appearance is unnerving to you, quickly takes on the appearance of Groucho Marx to put you at ease.
Groucho lets you see a portfolio he has prepared for the High Council of Grumpus. It outlines his plan for Earth. You look at pictures of long rows of women confined in stocks-like devices with milking machines attached to their breasts. You see pictures of colorful and efficient “mangrumpies” branding, castrating, and de-fingering livestock. De-fingering is necessary, Groucho explains, to prevent stock from injuring themselves and each other; it’s much easier than trimming the nails. A sickening feeling swells in your throat as you stare at a picture of long rows of carcasses suspended by a hook through a heel. Groucho explains that Grumpan religion demands Kosher slaughter.
Viewing the portfolio so inspires you that you speak passionately of the massive human suffering that the Grumpan plan will cause. You speak of the violent, painful death of herds of innocent men, women, and children. You tell of tears and heartaches, of families torn apart, of the agony of the slaughterhouse. You appeal to the Grumps to show compassion.
Groucho cuts you short. “Compassion?” he laughs. “What’s this about compassion? Surely youy agree that the strong have the right to exercise dominion over the weak. After all, you kill and eat the other animals of the Earth, don’t you? Your religion even gives you a mandate to do that, you claim.”
“Yes, of course,” you answer, “but in our case. . .”
You stop short at the sight of a hulking figure that has appeared in the doorway holding a long, sharp knife like the ones you saw in the portfolio. You cast a final entreating glance at Groucho, whose face now wears an icy smirk. “You know,” he says coldly, “the animals of other planets might taste better than you. Goodness knows they eat better. So I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you can explain to me how butchering you wouldn’t be exactly what you’ve always done to your fellow creatures here, I’ll spare your miserable race.”
Then Groucho raises his eyebrows, puffs on his cigar, makes a smacking sound with his lips, and says, “On the other hand, if you can’t convince me, I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into one of your young people cooked with its mother’s milk. Don’t you call it a ‘cheeseburger?'”
He leans back in his chair, chews on his cigar, and waits for your reply. What will you tell him to save the people of Earth from the butcher’s knife?
Editor’s Note: The piece above originally appeared in Gazette #40 (Winter, 1992), so please don’t enter the contest now. The deadline has passed.
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