An exhibit using real human bodies is scheduled at the Galleria in St. Louis for this fall, but there are concerns about where the bodies came from.
The website for the exhibit, called “Bodies,” says:
“The full body specimens are persons who lived in China and died from natural causes. After the bodies were unclaimed at death, pursuant to Chinese law, they were ultimately delivered to a medical school for education and research. “
But Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says after this was brought to his attention by Congressmen Todd Akin, he decided to launch an investigation.
“If we can’t verify that these bodies were donated willingly, if they came out of a prison camp, if they were victims of police brutality; then there’s a consumer issue that’s at hand and appropriate warnings that should be given. That’s what we’re trying to find out, the origin of these bodies,” Koster said.
Koster says officials in New York and Pennsylvania had similar concerns over the exhibit and in those cases the parent company, Premier Exhibitions, signed an agreement in those states.
“Essentially a consent agreement whereby specific language was put together that would warn consumers about the ambiguity as to where these bodies came from,” Koster said.
Koster says this is ultimately a consumer protection issue.
“I think that it dramatically alters the experience from one of wonder to one of intense disapproval. Our goal is to make sure that human rights and human dignity are maintained and that an appropriate emphasis is placed on them,” Koster said.
He says he has had meetings with the both Premier Exhibitions and the Galleria.
“So far we have not been provided what I consider to be adequate documentation from the exhibit company,” Koster said.
So his office isn’t quite done with their efforts.
“Both parties have been very forthcoming. We are in the process of forwarding some questions and some informational requests to them. They’re going to answer them as best they can and then we’ll make decisions going forward from there,” Koster said.
The exhibit is scheduled to open at the Galleria in October.