Body farm is good idea, bad location

To the Journal editor:

State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, introduced Senate Bill No. 119 on Feb. 8 which would convey Michigan Department of Corrections property located next to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources office on U.S. 41 to Northern Michigan University for use as a “body farm.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Local Government.

As mentioned in an earlier Mining Journal editorial, NMU’s plan to establish a 2- to 3-acre cold-weather research site for forensic anthropology may be good for some purposes.

However, their chosen site will negatively affect many in our community. The site may eventually have over 100 dead bodies, many of which will be unburied and exposed to the elements. Is this really what we want at the southern gateway to our city close to Lake Superior?

The planned fence around the site will not prevent decomposing bodies from attracting predators and scavenging birds; birds which are also likely to frequent popular locations such as Marquette’s South Beach.

And, the stench of rotting bodies will emanate from the site, which is next to the DNR main office and its air intakes. Unburied, rotting corpses next to a public office — what will they think of next?

Although the research may be desirable, the location is not. A location should be found further from residences, businesses, offices, tourist sites, and high-use recreational areas.

A more isolated location is surely available within the county, which would minimize impingement on citizens’ rights to freedom from negative physical and psychological impacts of a human body decomposition research site.

If you find this location objectionable, as I do, please contact our Senator, other legislators, and the Senate’s Committee on Local Government to express your concern. This is being moved forward quickly, so please act now.

Dennis Nezich