"Where do the animals come from?"
This is the first question we get asked when someone learns that Body World’s, ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, exhibition will be coming to Science World at TELUS World of Science starting October 3. The concern is that the animals were harmed or killed for the exhibition (which first opened in Germany in 2010).
Let’s look at an example:
While anatomist, Dr Gunther von Hagens, an honorary visiting professor at the Kyrgyz State Medical Academy, was visiting Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan), he learned of a camel that had suffered a broken leg and was going to be euthanized. Following the veterinarian’s injection, the process of Plastination was initiated and the anatomical specimen was swiftly transported to the laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Between dissection, silicone impregnation and curing, it was discovered that the camel had been pregnant, allowing the near full-term baby to be removed from the uterus and placed upright, standing next to its mother.
It’s important to note that none of the animals on display were killed for the exhibition, all died of natural causes. Many of the species were donated by zoological societies and veterinary institutions in Europe, or came from private donors. The Institute of Plastination was required to show proof of documentation for all CITES listed animals before coming to North America. The only controversial death of an animal in the exhibition is the shark, a victim of by-catch in a trawling net.
Body World’s ANIMAL INSIDE OUT opens up the conversation about conservation and seeks for a stronger appreciation of endangered species. It shows how important it is to learn about the wonders of nature and inspires us to think about ways to help protect the diversity on earth and the habitats and resources we all share.