I’ve been having this discussion about mermaids in one of the episodes of The Voyage of the Miscreation (#3, “The Sunken Forest”), and I’m not sure what I think anymore. If mermaids eat humans, do you call them cannibals?
I discussed it with my family first, and we’re divided in our answers. Some argued yes, because mermaids are half human. I asked if they’re also cannibals for eating fish, which is the other half? The Little Mermaid implies that Ariel has a moral imperative against eating any sea creatures, since they’re her friends, but Disney is vague on what Ariel actually eats. But Disney’s obviously going light for kids, and darker stories won’t have the same interpretation.
I argued that being only half human doesn’t make them cannibals, because in the animal kingdom, you wouldn’t call a species cannibal for eating another species that was related to them. For example, among fishes, bigger sharks will often eat smaller sharks, but that’s not considered cannibalism.
Alternate labels that I’ve considered are man-eating mermaids, people-eating mermaids (to be less gender-specific, because they’re not picky), and carnivorous mermaids (since they eat more than just people, but I don’t think it really has the same level of terror). I’m open to suggestions, though.
Help me out here. Should I call them cannibal mermaids or something else?