'Bodies' exhibit may be banned in Seattle

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by JENNIFER CABALA / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on July 18, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 18 at 5:42 PM

SEATTLE - "Bodies the Exhibition" has twice come to Seattle, and while the exhibit has drawn plenty of people to see bodies of mostly Chinese people embalmed in plastic, the exhibit has also drawn protest.

Charlette LeFevre has been saying for years it's time to ban the bodies.

"When you knowingly import in human remains from another country that's desecration, pure and simple," she said.

Now City Councilman Nick Licata has proposed legislation regulating exhibits featuring human remains.

"These exhibitors have to show that they received the permission of the pre-deceased or the next of kin," he said.

If Seattle passes the legislation it wouldn't be the first.  The state of New York and the city of San Francisco passed similar legislation, while that state of Hawaii has completely banned all exhibits of this kind.

"The New York State Attorney General found out there is an underground industry in China right now that is marketing dead bodies and my concern is are we pushing people into the dead body category before it's time for them to be in that category," said LeFevre.

Premier Exhibitions said in a statement on their website that "(the remains) were obtained from a plastination facility in China, which received them from medical universities in China. These medical universities received the remains from medical examiner authorities in the Chinese Bureau of Police. The specimens are unclaimed by next of kin and there is no available donor documentation."

LeFevre says regardless of documentation the people in the exhibit deserve better.

"We honor the dead and what they did in their lives, how can we stand by and see an exhibit literally desecrate the bodies of young Chinese men?" said LeFevre.

The Seattle City Council votes on the final legislation on Monday night.

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