Where did the bodies come from?

The origin of plastinated bodies at an exhibit in Birmingham, UK, was controversial enough to serve as the subject of an editorial in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals. Premier Exhibitions, a company with good connections in China, had displayed its collection of flayed and partially dissected bodies, male and female, in the Custard Factory for 3 months, attracting many visitors, including thousands of schoolchildren.

Where did the bodies come from? In New York the company was forced to display a disclaimer that the bodies could have been those of Chinese prisoners. In the UK no such advice was displayed, as the 2004 Human Tissue Act does not require proof of informed consent for tissues which have been imported.

Human rights activist Dr David Nicholl believes that the bodies were the victims of torture  or execution and accused the organisers of having “blood money” on their hands for charging a £14 entrance fee. The Lancet supported his campaign for the Tissue Act to be amended to include imported tissue. “Assurance that all remains on public display were donated with informed consent of the deceased, is imperative,” it says.

Even if some sort of proof of informed consent were displayed, would the persons have consented to using their remains to stage cocktail parties and banquets? The “festive package” for the Christmas season included mulled wine, a hog roast and a cash bar for only £55 per guest. ~ The Lancet, Feb 20

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