Pigs are self-cremating, says Roberto Muehlenkamp

In his contribution to the holocaust controversies manifesto, Roberto Muehlenkamp claims that to cremate carcasses, one needs a total energy content of 3,677.51 kCal per kg of carcass to be cremated. That is, Muehlenkamp first calculates the energy content of the carcasses, and then calculates the amount of additional fuel needed based on the requirement that (energy of fuel + energy of carcasses in kCal) / (weight of carcasses in kg) = 3,677.51. He calculates the energy content of the carcasses to be cremated on the basis of the following values:

1 kg fat = 9,500 kCal
1 kg protein = 5,400 kCal
1 kg water = -986 kCal (to vaporize and then heat the steam)
everything else = 0 (does not enter into calculation)

The results that Muehlenkamp obtains with this method differ wildly from the results of real mass cremations. However, Muehlenkamp’s calculations, while fundamentally very simple, are elaborate enough to deter the average reader. Few will be able or willing to wade through the details of Muehlenkamp’s arguments, much less to follow a detailed point-for-point deconstruction thereof. Moreover, Muehlenkamp’s work is filled with so many errors that an attempt to write such a critique ends up ballooning to unreasonable length, as seen in Carlo Mattogno’s rebuttal to Muehlenkamp.

Fortunately, there’s a simpler way to see the fundamental flaws in Muehlenkamp’s method, namely to provisionally grant its validity and then see what conclusions we are led to. Consider the following body composition data for pigs (from this book):


The “rangy” pigs clearly have the lowest energy content. Let’s calculate their energy density as Muehlenkamp would. Their mass is 100 kg. Their components give up the following (using Muehlenkamp’s figures as given above):
38.1 kg fat = 361,950 kCal
13.1 kg protein = 70,740 kCal
47.1 kg water = -46,440.6 kCal
everything else = 0 (does not enter into calculation)

Adding these up and dividing by the mass (100 kg) gives us an overall energy density of: 3,862.494 kCal/kg. This is well over Muehlenkamp’s required figure of 3,677.51. Thus, if we follow Muehlenkamp’s analysis, we can conclude that the “rangy” pigs will self-cremate without the need for any fuel at all, aside from perhaps a little kindling to get the fire started. The “chuffy” and “intermediate” pigs, having higher energy contents, will self-cremate even more easily.

This is a rather remarkable discovery on Muehlenkamp’s part. Perhaps he would be so good as to confirm that he has faith in his analysis. A question for Muehlenkamp: do you indeed affirm that, as your analysis shows, 100 kg Poland China pigs will self-cremate?


Muehlenkamp’s remarkably “discovery” offers all kinds of opportunities for savings. Consider the following observations made during the 2001 FMD epidemic:

According to a USDA veterinarian who helped during the U.K. outbreak, a 200-meter funeral pyre was used to incinerate 400 cows or 1,200 sheep or 1,600 pigs. Such a pyre required 1,000 railway ties, 8 tons of kindling, 400 wooden pallets, 4 tons of straw, 200 tons of coal, and 1,000 liters of diesel fuel.

Of course, the quantities of fuel given above may represent only the amounts used to build the pyre, and not the total used for the cremation. It was common practise to add additional fuel mid-burn as required – for an example, see this video, starting at 8:30. It’s unclear whether this particular set of figures include such additional fuel. For the following calculations we will assume that they do.

Let’s see that the total energy involved in the cremation of 1,600 pigs would be, following Muehlenkamp’s analysis. During the 2001 UK FMD epidemic, pigs were assessed at 100 kg apiece, so the 100 kg pigs discussed above are a good model. For the sake of generosity, we will assume that all of the 1,600 pigs correspond to the “rangy” type, which has the lowest energy content. We have the following amounts of additional fuel per pig:
0.625 railroad ties
5 kg kindling
0.25 wooden pallets
2.5 kg straw
125 kg coal
0.625 litres diesel fuel

Now, in order to follow Muehlenkamp’s analysis as closely as possible, we will accept his values for the energy content of these fuels (even though they are not necessarily correct), assume the rather modest weight of 20 kg for the wooden pallets, and plug in the energy density of diesel fuel, which Muehlenkamp doesn’t give. We then add these up along with the energy of the “rangy” pig, all on a per kg basis.

The result: a total of 15,202.77 kCal/kg.

What a shame that they didn’t have Muehlenkamp to tell them that all they had to do was hold up a match to the pigs and let them self-cremate.

(For the record: I am not proposing that Muehlenkamp’s calculations should be replicated with the figure 3,677.51 replaced by a larger and more realistic number. This would be improvement, but it would not be adequate. Muehlenkamp’s methodology is fundamentally and irredeemably flawed, and his calculations cannot be salvaged.)

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6 Responses to Pigs are self-cremating, says Roberto Muehlenkamp

  1. Pingback: On fat collection from burning cremation pyres at Auschwitz | Holocaust History Channel

  2. Pingback: Muehlenkamp doubles down on stupid | Holocaust History Channel

  3. Pingback: Muehlenkamp’s Ettling imposture | Holocaust History Channel

  4. Pingback: A sample of Muehlenkamp’s deceptions about his “empirical” evidence on cremation | Holocaust History Channel

  5. Pingback: Muehlenkamp mangles mass cremation calculations | Holocaust History Channel

  6. Pingback: Memo for the controversial bloggers, part Vb: Lothes and Profé’s carbonization experiments with anthrax carcasses | Holocaust History Channel

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