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Posted on February 19, 2008 at 8:37 PM

ABC screengrabIt seems the company behind “Bodies… The Exhibition,” one of the two most popular traveling exhibitions of plastinated corpses, isn’t very sure, beyond the fact that they come from China. ABC reported last week that there’s evidence the bodies may in fact have belonged to executed prisoners. Here’s the company’s response to ABC:

Arnie Geller, the chairman of Premier Exhibitions, told ABC News he was appalled at the allegations that some of the bodies from his Chinese suppliers might be those of executed prisoners.

He said his own medical staff had seen no such evidence and that his suppliers have assured him that “these are all legitimate, unclaimed bodies that have gone through Dalian Medical University.”

“If these can actually be attributed to even the people that we’re doing business with, we would have to do something about that immediately,” Geller said.

The ABC report has apparently prompted New York’s attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, to open an investigation into the exhibit.

And what about that other plastinated bodies exhibition? Gunther von Hagens, the guy behind “Body Worlds” says he’s stopped using bodies from China.

Back to “Bodies… the Exhibition,” why the outrage against using executed prisoners? It’s not like the exhibit has said it has a whole stack of consent forms for its bodies. According to the company, the corpses were “unclaimed,” which sounds like a code word for “we didn’t have to bother with consent because there was no one around to complain.” So, are we really concerned about the the prisoners and their lack of consent? Or are we just motivated by our own unease about the act of execution?

-Greg Dahlmann

(story via Art Caplan)

screengrab: ABC

Previously in AJOB:
+ Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS: Selling Beautiful Education

Earlier on blog.bioethics.net:
+ Not-so-exquisite corpses

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