A SOLIHULL woman is part of a campaign to outlaw a ‘macabre’ NEC exhibition displaying real dead bodies of ‘unclaimed’ people.
Campaigner Elena Ruston is concerned about the event ‘Real Bodies The Exhibition’ which came to the NEC in June.
The exhibition displays the skinless bodies of 20 men and over 200 body parts categorised as specimens.
She claims the origins and identities of the bodies are unclear.
This also includes foetuses ranging from 10 weeks to 32 weeks gestation.
She has joined a host of medical experts who have called for an inquest into identifying the bodies and the cause of their deaths.
An open letter has been sent to Birmingham and Solihull’s head coroner Louise Hunt asking her to investigate the specimens.
The bodies come from a university in Dalian, China, and unfounded suggestions say the bodies could have come from inmates or political prisoners.
The organisers, Imagine Exhibitions Inc, has been challenged by lawyers and medical experts concerning documentation about the origins of the corpses or the consent for the use of the bodies.
But the company’s president and chief executive Tom Zaller categorically denied these claims saying they are ‘completely false’ and the due legal process in displaying the bodies has been followed.
He has also maintained the bodies died of natural causes.
Ms Ruston, of White House Green, said: “As a Solihull resident, I am very sad and upset to see this macabre display has been promoted within our communities, not just because of the exhibition itself.
“In 2010, France’s highest court, the French Supreme Court declared the commercial exhibition of human remains illegal, effectively closing down all such exhibits.
“Two years later, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a similar ruling. Hawaii banned the shows, as did city councils in Seattle and elsewhere.
“Until documentation about the corpses is provided, I don’t think we could ever be in good conscience to expose us, our children and the communities to such an immoral, commercial exploitation of the deceased.”
Mr Zaller said: “The specimens in the exhibition are provided by Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique Co. Ltd, one of the world’s leading centres of plastination research and innovation.
“The specimens are all unclaimed bodies that have been donated by the relevant authorities to medical universities in China.
“The specimens featured in the exhibition were donated legally, were never prisoners of any kind, showed no signs of trauma or injury, were free of infectious disease, and died of natural causes. Any claims to suggest otherwise are completely false.
“Imagine Exhibitions has followed all legal protocol in the creation of the exhibition and, along with the NEC, secured all of the correct authorisation to display Real Bodies The Exhibition – including a public display license from the Human Tissue Authority.
“Real Bodies The Exhibition has never been banned, nor has it been found to violate ethical standards in any of the countries it has visited.”
Click here to see the Observer’s review of the exhibition in June.