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Poll: Is it ethical to put human remains on public display?

The Human Body exhibition in Dublin – the second such exhibit in recent years – has raised eyebrows over its displays.

A specimen at the Human Body exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin.
A specimen at the Human Body exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE RETURN of an anatomy exhibition to Dublin has raised questions about the ethics of putting the bodies of dead humans on public display.

The Human Body exhibit, which opened this week, features bodies donated under Chinese law to a laboratory which carries out research on the technique of ‘plastination’ and distributes specimens to medical schools.

While there is an educational aspect to the exhibition – allowing people to gain an appreciation for their own anatomical makeup in a unique, close-up way – there’s also the question of whether the people whose bodies are on display would consent to the exhibit.

There have been longstanding allegations that the bodies used in this and other exhibitions may be those of political prisoners, and not those who wilfully donated their bodies to science. Even those who did opt-in to the programme may not have thought their remains would be put on public display.

Today we’d like to hear your thoughts: are displays like the Human Body one a genuine educational experience, or should people whose bodies are donated to medicine be treated with a little less exhibitionism?

Is it ethical to put human remains on public display?


Poll Results:

Yes (1460)
No (955)
I don't know (364)



GALLERY: A quick look inside the controversial Human Body exhibition >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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