TikTok person sells human bones, ignites moral debate on-line

Jon-Pichaya Ferry, known as JonsBones on TikTok, sells every bone in the human body – including spines and fetus skulls.

On his website, you can buy ribs for just $ 18 and skulls for around $ 2,000.

PHOTO: Jon-Pichaya Ferry is known as JonsBones on TikTok.

Jon-Pichaya Ferry is known as JonsBones on TikTok.

The 21-year-old told ABC News’ Start Here daily news podcast that the bones are from “medical sources used for medical education.” He receives bones “from people who no longer want them,” such as someone who inherited the bones of a deceased family member, but he said research organizations, museums and universities are his main suppliers.

Its stated goal is to help people learn from real bones without going to a museum or medical school.

Ferry said the inspiration for his company began at a young age when his father gave him a mouse skeleton.

“Instead of taking it in a creepy, dark and creepy way, I really looked at it with a fascination and awe,” said Ferry.

The two main goals of his company are to make bones profitable and to “de-stigmatize a stigmatized industry”.

His account has since gone viral and has garnered more than 500,000 followers and 22 million likes.

While Ferry isn’t the only bone seller out there, his TikTok videos have sparked a discussion about his lack of training in osteology – the study of bone anatomy – as well as the ethics and legality of his company and the commercial bone industry in general.

Robyn Wakefield Murphy, an assistant professor of anatomy who examines skeletal remains known as BonesandBotany85 on TikTok, has criticized Ferry’s business on the platform.

“Human remains should never be sold. There are legitimate, ethical ways for institutions and researchers to source human bodies for research through cadaver donation programs, ”she said.

Tanya Marsh, a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina who teaches courses on complex death-related legal issues such as inheritance, funeral and cemetery law, said selling human remains is “unethical because there is no consent” .

“People don’t ask to be skeletonized before they die, especially when it comes to fetal skulls,” she said. “It is not privileged members of society whose bones are sold in the end; they are people who are marginalized during their lifetime, and they will continue to be dehumanized and marginalized during their death. “

When asked if he thought he was exploiting human remains, Ferry replied, “I think when it comes to human osteology this is an extremely sensitive subject. We really believe that the original purpose of these pieces of education and the Understanding served. “

Ferry said he doesn’t ask customers why they are buying. He equated it with the fact that a prescription drug manufacturer has no direct knowledge of how a patient is using their product.

“It is very difficult for the medical company to keep track of exactly how the customer or patient will use this prescription,” he said.

He did, however, refer to guidelines he lists on his website directing buyers to “treat these bones with as much respect as possible”.

Selling human remains is legal with restrictions in the United States. The practice is banned on Facebook, Instagram, and eBay, but federal law allows you to legally own, sell, or distribute human remains unless the remains are Native American. Native American human remains are protected by the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, passed in 1990.

“It’s a gray area in the law because it’s not specifically legal. The legal uncertainty allows those who sell bones to continue operating, “Marsh said.

“Some states have some legal restrictions,” she added.

Ferry said he doesn’t ship bones to Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, or outside of the United States where the sale of human remains is restricted or prohibited.

Marsh notes that, as the debate has gained attention in recent months, she would not be surprised “if some states revisit laws prohibiting the sale of human remains”.

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