Yes, We Have No Man Beef!
From the Mailbag
Dear Urban Legends:
My husband heard about this Website that claims to sell human beef for the connoisseur. I insist this HAS to be a hoax!
The site is extremely well thought out; they even say that they ship all beef with an extra postage-paid box "folded up" inside the package, for the customer to return bones, which are illegal to dump. They list recipes, they have price lists, they sell gourmet cooking accessories such as Wusthof Knives, All-Clad cookware and the like. They have an extensive wine list, as well as numerous other gourmet delicacies, such as La Maison du Chocolat truffles, expensive olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
I don't believe the sale of human meat is legal anywhere in the world, yet they list testimonials and describe their state-of-the-art processing plant. PLEASE check it out and tell me it's a hoax.
It's a hoax.
ManBeef.com, the home page of "ManBeef International Meats," was created in January 2001. As you noted, the site purports to sell "high quality human meat" products. But, like the equally despised and controversial Bonsai Kitten Website which pretends to advocate cruelty to animals, ManBeef.com is nothing but an elaborate prank calculated to push people's emotional buttons. What could inspire more outrage than a business proudly catering to cannibals?
The site's deceptively professional veneer has left many a visitor teetering on the brink of credulity, but the simple fact is that selling "human meat" is illegal on two grounds:
- It's forbidden in the U.S. (and indeed in most parts of the world) to sell human body parts for any reason.
- All meat products sold in the U.S. must be inspected and graded by either the USDA or the FDA. According to a government spokesman, there is no approved use of human meat in the United States.
"Joseph Christopherson," the pseudonymous, self-styled "CEO" of ManBeef, has admitted in print that it's all a hoax, though he has yet to reveal his true identity, citing "security reasons."
What was his motivation for creating the site? "As society slowly becomes more and more jaded, it takes more to get a rise out of people," Christopherson told The Columbian (Vancouver, WA) in mid-July. "The subject of human meat was chosen because of its ability to churn the viewer's stomach and help outrage the more 'sensitive' viewers. This includes Bible thumpers."
Christopherson promises he will reveal all on the Website very soon, including the origin and history of the hoax and a sampling of the hate mail he has received.
An investigation by the FDA is reportedly underway.
- "ManBeef.com Creator Says It's a Hoax." The Columbian, 14 July 2001.
- National Organ Transplant Act 1984. Library of Congress.
- "OK, We'll Bite: Is Cannibalism Pitch for Real?." San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 April 2001.
- "Paging Dr. Lecter: Your Dot.com Is Here" Los Angeles Times, 18 April 2001.
- "Website Gives New Meaning to 'Rump Roast'." The Columbian, 25 May 2001.
- "Website Offers 'High Quality' Human Meat." Associated Press, 19 June 2001