As far as I understand, one of the strongest points of veganism for not consuming animals is so as not to cause animals harm or suffering. Vegans also abstain from animal products such as milk, honey and eggs because those are not made by for humans, and taking those is akin to stealing and will cause them harm and suffering.

Humans, however, are capable of giving away their flesh with consent. This has actually been practiced culturally. Some indigenous tribes in Brazil and Peru practice endocannibalism, in which they consume their own deceased, and in Papua New Guinea cannibalism was still practiced this decade.

If a person consents to having their flesh being consumed by others in the event of a death by natural causes, would that flesh be considered vegan?

  • It's not the aspect you're asking about, so I'm not going to post it as an answer, but just to state the obvious: if consensual cannibalism is your only source of meat, unless you've managed a seriously impressive pipeline, you're not going to have enough meat to sustain the gut flora and enzymes necessary to handle meat well. That probably matters less if the corpse was shared by a very massive number of vegans, such that none got more than a starting transition from veganism amount. I mean, based on your rep, I'd assume this is worldbuilding, but...
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 0:05
  • @EdGrimm not worldbuilding, just curiosity on people's worldviews. Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 1:14
  • Perhaps a better inquiry would be to ask the question if certain acts preformed when 2 or more ppl are being intimate are vegan.
    – luckyape
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 0:52
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    The great ethical movement of veganism, where one cannot be a vegan simply by abstaining from animal products. But one must abstain for ethical reasons, for the liberation of animals from the slavery of man. The great ethical vegan makes no argument of ethics against eating a person. Vegans do not recognize the sanctity of human life. Pretending consent of the individual negates ethics. It's a sick irony and a twisted religion.
    – user6686
    Commented Apr 1 at 16:02

6 Answers 6


After death

I would argue that human meat is vegan no matter if consent was given, as long as

  • the human was not intentionally killed (and the meat is taken after death), and
  • the human was free (i.e., not a slave).

This applies to non-human animals, too: it would be vegan to take the meat of animals who died in the wild (without human influence) or of animals who where accidentally killed e.g. on the road.

Without consent, taking/using such meat might be unethical for other reasons (e.g., post-mortem rights, extrinsic moral value given by others), but these have nothing to do with veganism. If consent was given, these other reasons no longer apply, and taking/using the meat would be ethical.

While living

Meat from a human who still lives is only vegan if

  • the human gives consent to the injury/amputation (or it’s in their best interest), and
  • the human gives consent to the use (e.g., eating) of the body part.

This mostly can’t apply to non-human animals, as they can’t give consent. An exception would be if an amputation is medically required (i.e., it’s in the animal’s best interest), and the animal has no need for the amputated body part.


Based on the Vegan Society’s definition, something is vegan unless it involves exploitation or cruelty.

If you are dead, you are non-sentient (→ you no longer have intrinsic moral value), so nothing can be exploitative/cruel anymore.

If you give true consent to an action that would otherwise be exploitative/cruel, that action is no longer exploitative/cruel.

Analogous examples are post-mortem and living organ donations:

  • It’s vegan to take the heart from, and accept the heart of, a dead person (but possibly unethical if the person didn’t agree to it during their lifetime).

  • It’s vegan to take the kidney from, and accept the kidney of, a living person who agreed to it.

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    Why the distinction on whether or not the person was a slave? Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 0:27
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    This answer matches my views, so naturally it must be correct :) But there is subtlety which might interesting to think about. The laws of supply and demand are such that if demand for human flesh were to become significant then market forces would exert pressure on the supply side. This could in turn cause pressure to get sick people dead sooner than later (e.g. less aggressive treatments) and, in extreme cases, murder. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 0:38
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    @JamesReinstateMonicaPolk: Keeping humans as slaves is non-vegan, similar to how keeping animals as livestock is non-vegan. When slaves/livestock die of natural causes, products made out of their bodies would still be non-vegan (because of the conditions they lived under). Otherwise it would be possible to capture wild animals, to cage them, to wait until they die of natural causes and then to sell their meat as vegan.
    – unor
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 11:39
  • Thank, good point. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 13:46
  • And I thought vegans had a lifestyle of ethics. What a twisted ideology that permits eating flesh of a person but forbids the flesh of an animal. Shameful.
    – user6686
    Commented Apr 1 at 16:06

There is no official definition of veganism so you won't get a definitive answer. You could eat consenting humans and call yourself a vegan if you wish. You might be breaking the law but not because you misrepresented yourself as vegan.


The closest analogy would be breastfeeding, which most vegans consider acceptable: a mother is consenting to share her milk with her child (unlike cows or other animals, who cannot give analogous informed consent to being milked by a human). However, there are always broader ethical considerations (is consuming meat, even consensually given, necessary? etc.) and so it's likely that different vegans would have different opinions.

  • "cows or other animals, who cannot consent" have you ever seen a mom pull her breast away from a pup that was biting too hard on her nipple? That's her not consenting. Yes, animals can consent to breast feeding. Not all consent is verbal. Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 13:54
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    @MichaelAltfield I was not talking about consent between (e.g.) a cow and a calf, but rather a cow and a dairy farmer. I'll edit to clarify
    – Erica
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 15:09
  • Nothing special about being a person created in the image of God, I guess. And a mother consents to share her milk with her child? That's a weird way of saying a mother feeds her infant. Really not a lot of consent there.
    – user6686
    Commented Apr 1 at 16:13

Since Renan said in a comment that they're just interested in people's views, and there's no nay-sayers for people to vote on...

My view is that the practice wouldn't be vegan, but it would be ethical. It's a choice I can respect.

Just to clarify the kind of person I am and thus represent, I'm an old school pragmatic vegan. That is, I don't eat meat, eggs, or dairy. Meat includes fish and poultry. I don't have a particularly strong stance on honey; I don't go out of my way to avoid it, but it's not a big part of my diet.

I am pleased that I'm able to live healthily and enjoy what I eat on a much more ethical diet than what I was doing before, but I didn't become vegan because of ethics, and I'm not staying vegan because of ethics. The ethics is just a nice bonus. Since I feel like eating a vegan diet has improved my health and quality of life, I've not been in a position where I've been able to really determine whether ethics alone would be enough to keep me vegan. I've certainly mulled it over, and I think I know the answer, but actually being in the position of having a reason to stop being vegan is quite different from the context in which I've thought about it, so I'm not certain if the answer would apply.

  • So eating a human isn't vegan, but it would be ethical? It would violate your diet, which has worked for you, so you don't see the benefit to jump off the vegan train and ethically eat a person. Do vegans not have a conscience? Or a moral code? It's pretty sick view of mankind.
    – user6686
    Commented Apr 1 at 16:17

I am amazed to see almost all vegan people believe eating consensual human meat is vegan. I am referring the history of word vegan as stated in https://www.dictionary.com/e/veganism/

There are, of course, many ethical and health controversies surrounding vegetarianism in all its different forms, but we wanted to know – where did the words come from? Who invented “veganism”?

Vegetarianism has been around for a very long time. Some historians date it back to Ancient Greek philosophers, and religious sects of Buddhism and Hinduism have encouraged vegetarianism for hundreds of years. However, the word itself came into common usage in the 1830s. During this era, vegetarianism was associated with religious conservatives, some of whom also campaigned for the temperance movement to ban alcohol. (To this day, the Church of the Seventh-Day Adventists encourages a vegetarian diet.)

It is not completely clear who invented the word “vegetarian.” It may have been the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1847. Regardless, its linguistic roots are very clear. The Latin word “vegetābilis” meant “lively or animating” and came to describe foods that made one lively or animated. The suffix “–arian” changes an adjective into a personal noun, as in librarian or veterinarian. From the 1840s onward, the word was in common English usage. (What actually makes a vegetable? Or a fruit? Learn more.)

Why “vegan” though? Where did that short word that connotes radical vegetarians come from? Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, coined the word “vegan” in 1944 as a statement against vegetarians who ate dairy products. He took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian to create his orthodox version of vegetarianism. Today, as many as 10% of American adults say they follow a vegetarian-inclined diet, but only 1% of them are strict vegans.

Most people who describe themselves as vegetarians are technically lacto-ovo-vegetarians; that is they eat eggs and milk. If you want to get really specific in describing your diet, you could use some of these terms: pollotarians (if you eat chicken, but not meat from mammals), pescetarians (if you eat fish), freegan (if you eat food only when it’s free).

Recently, a new word has entered the dietary lexicon: flexitarian. Though the term dates was invented in the 1990s, only in the past few years has it acquired common currency. The first flexitarian cookbook came out in 2008. Celebrity chef Mark Bittman advocates for a “plant-based diet” meaning one that focuses on plants but can include a little meat.

The word in its purest form is derived from vegetarian which was obviously eating food produced from plants, trees (like fruits, vegetables, beans, pulses etc) and avoiding animal meat, dairy products etc. But in that definition only 1% people fit so they moulded the definition according to themselves rather than following definition in its pure form.

lacto-ovo-vegetarians is one such word; they want to be accepted as vegetarians, but eat eggs and dairy products.

In my opinion, the accepted answer is twisted to get sense even when meat obtained with consent or after death is vegan. No, it is not vegan; it may be ethical to some, but to me if there is no scarcity of food and there is no drought-like situation, eating human meat in any way is insanity & inhumane just like eating other meat.

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    There are many interpretations of veganism and vegetarianism. And they are all valid (excluding trolls and the ones that are beyond reason - eg. I eat all meat but cry while doing so so I am vegan). There is no singular source of moral authority over their definition and that's okay. As for your statement lacto-ovo-vegetarians is one such word they want to be accepted as vegetarians but eats eggs & dairy products - lacto-ovo-vegetarianism is what the mainstream definition of word vegetarianism means, at least in western countries. You might be thinking about veganism there. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 9:38
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    I am amazed right there with you. You seem to be the only person here with a sense of right a wrong. Thank you for your ethical approach to life and veganism. Your answer should be been chosen. +1
    – user6686
    Commented Apr 1 at 16:20

Humans are animals so vegans should object to eating human flesh.

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    The key difference being discussed here is the consensual part. With animals, a consent can hardly be an argument. With humans it leads to questioning of whether veganism is a question of consent or a question of avoidance regardless of ethical context. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 10:06

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