Page:Henry Stephens Salt - A Plea for Vegetarianism and Other Essays.pdf/110

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prestige, honour, and empire, why should we be ashamed to do so for more solid dietetic advantages, if a diet of human flesh were considered wholesome and necessary ? It is obvious that the popular aversion to cannibalism is based, and justly so, on the intuitive knowledge that such a diet is unnatural, unwholesome, and disgusting ; the very word “cannibal,” or “dog-like,” is indicative of the popular sentiment. It is rightly felt that there are some foods of which it is filthy and dog-like to partake, and the public conscience is accordingly shocked when some shipwrecked individuals from time to time are found to have preferred such a diet to the alternative of starvation. On the whole, this is as it should be ; but it is to be regretted that the public conscience should be so partial and intermittent in its promptings, branding as infamy the mad act of a few starving and scarcely responsible men, while it calmly ignores or sanctions an established system which outrages every feeling of decency and humanity For let those who shudder at the horrors of cannibalism lay aside for once all the prejudice of custom and conventionalism, and think of the