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While watching a recent episode of The Walking Dead, there was a scene where Carl and Michone where scavenging houses for food. It occurred to me, why not just eat the zombies?

There are different zombie universes. For example, in 28 days later there are crazy zombies who act like they got into my mom's PCP stash. In this universe you can contract zombieism by exposing diseased blood to soft tissue (eyes, mouth, open wounds, etc).

In The Walking Dead, I've seen instances in earlier seasons where blood has gotten into eyes and mouths and there was no ill effects and there hasn't been any concerns raised about avoiding it. Additionally, I understand from season one that every already has the disease in their blood but it doesn't activate until you die.

In the former universe, eating zombie meat would not likely be possible, but it seems that in the latter universe, it could be possible.

So, based on the rules of The Walking Dead zombie universe, if the gang came across a freshly turned zombie, could they in fact break it down and consume the meat without any ill effects?

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It would at least be laden with the usual moral/aesthetic implications of eating humans (even if only "evil" humans). And even more than that, while I don't know The Walking Dead, if those are classic zombies, the meat might also be dead and to some degree rotten. So eaten without becoming a zombie, maybe, but eating without getting either disgusted or ill, rather unlikely except for rare cases maybe. –  Tom Cody Feb 28 '14 at 0:49
    
I thought about that and that's why I included "fresh" zombie. Aside from the gross factor and the fact that it wouldn't be moraly acceptable to show this on TV, would it be possible given the rules of their zombie universe? –  DustinDavis Feb 28 '14 at 0:52
    
It's not so much the moral implications of showing that, you can show anything on TV, rather the moral implications the characters might have with eating people. Yet in extreme situations this is probably quite bendable (and is surely a meat that personally speaking would be quite interesting to try one day, human of course, not zombie ;-)). –  Tom Cody Feb 28 '14 at 0:56
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Well they might become walkers and they might not, none of them would be completely sure. Would you want to chance it? –  Stefan May 13 '14 at 10:49

3 Answers 3

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In The Walking Dead, everyone supposedly has the virus dormant in them. So, if they absolutely HAD to, they could possibly eat the zombies without repercussion if they could get their minds around the cannibalism factor. And, in extreme cases (i.e. the Argentinian soccer team whose plane crash and the ordeal surrounding it inspired the book/movie "Alive") that has been done by previously "civilized" humans. However, with less living beings on the planet to compete with, it's logical that the supply of normal meat sources (cow, deer, fish, chickens, etc...) would never be exhausted, so they would probably never need to go down that path.

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Why wouldn't the zombies eat the "normal meat sources". Not many movies/series show that but seems logic to me that they do. Especially cattle is an easy prey since they are kept in captivity. –  invalid_id Feb 28 '14 at 9:52
    
In the majority of movies (the remake of Dawn of the Dead being the exception), zombies have rigor-mortis, which makes them move slow. Hunting with a disability and no weapon will most definitely cut down on the number of their kills, which is probably why they eat dead humans. –  Johnny Bones Feb 28 '14 at 11:17
    
I agree, but then animals in captivity are even easier. That's what most of the time bothers me most, who gets bitten by a zombie that slow. I mean if there are hundreds of them it's fine but if it is just one or two then it's strange. –  invalid_id Feb 28 '14 at 11:34
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@Paulster2 I understand that :) But well I kinda like the concept of the fast zombies more because it explains better how the outbreak is so massive (or the one from the original Dawn of the Dead, which was a prevention for cancer that almost every one got injected with). But sure slow zombies are fun to watch, they build up a certain tension and nice cat and mouse scenes (that's why the evil guy often slowly pursuits the good guy). –  invalid_id Mar 1 '14 at 10:42
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A small correction though, in the movie/book "Alive" it was the Uruguayan rugby team and not the Argentinian soccer team. –  KeyBrd Basher May 13 '14 at 9:00

There was a episode where a Zombie was trappen in a fountain. So the group tried to get out the Zombie from the fountain without the Zombie loses blood. So i think in the universe from the Walking Dead people cannot eat Zombie meat. ;-)

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I recall that now, great memory. But at the time only one who knew everyone was infected was Rick so they were trying to prevent spreading it or getting infected. However I wouldn't want to drink zombie blood water either way... –  DustinDavis Feb 28 '14 at 7:19

You have to understand what triggers zombieism. The plot indicates every person has the virus in them but dormant because they are alive. This nags me a bit because viruses can only spread using the cell and to use the cell the body must be living. And cells die all the time, so if the virus was in the cell already it would trigger when the cell died - this obviously isn't happening. So being zombied is either a bacterial or a fungal infection.

Bacteria seems unlikely, it's hard to see how it could get a zombied human to move, as it would just exist or take over everything else in the body. But eating 100% bacterial infected zombie flesh would not be something I would do, you could trigger the bacterial pay load, this occurs when bacteria reach a certain population - resulting in zombifying yourself. see Bonnie Bassler's Ted talk she would probably say no that's not something you should do.

So then there's fungi (kind of an oxymoron - yeah Jack's a zombie fun guy). Well it's interesting because if you look at the Cordyceps fungal infection ants get it looks likely that a fungal infection can drive the nervous system, and the nervous system seems to be the mechanism that zombification uses to keep a body moving, even through rigamortis setting in. So there may be a short period of time you could eat this before the fungus starts 'fruiting'.

Looks like there is a third (and most likely) candidate, parasites, this snail infection Leucochloridium paradoxum indicates that it would achieve zombie traits (not sure about the eyes though) and attacks the mind. But I know nothing about parasites so can't take this branch any further, as much to say I wouldn't eat something infected with parasites - that sounds like a bad thing to do.

I would say it's a no, don't eat zombies. Filling your body with zombie infected flesh could tip the balance, or the infection could mutate into a whole new thing altogether, zombies disguised as humans... oh.

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