Cannibalism was an ancient social, economic, religious, military custom.  There was considerable commerce in women and children who had been fattened for slaughter. 
Human sacrifice sounded the death knell of cannibalism. Human flesh having become the food of superior men, the chiefs, it was eventually reserved for the still more superior spirits.  Cannibalism was once well-nigh universal among the evolving races.  Eating human flesh became part of a solemn ceremony of revenge. 
The taste for human flesh grows. Having been started through hunger, friendship, revenge, or religious ritual, the eating of human flesh goes on to habitual cannibalism.  Not long since, one cannibalistic tribe ate every fifth child born.  Cannibalism has been gradually disappearing because of the following influences: 
See also: UB 89:5.