News and Blogs

Alkaline hydrolysis bill defeated in Indiana

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HB 1069, the bill that would have legalized alkaline hydrolysis in Indiana, was defeated last week, chiefly because of criticism surrounding the process of disposing a liquid byproduct of the chemical cremation down the drain. Republican legislator, casket company owner, and former president of the Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America (hmm... no special interests there), Dick Hamm, reportedly compared the process to "flushing a loved one". 

As we've said before, one's personal preferences for body disposition should not restrict the choices of others. And Hamm's critique of alkaline hydrolysis seems unfair since in the common practice of embalming, the abdomen is pierced and sunctioned, blood is removed and the contents are routinely flushed down the drain, though this practice never faces the same condemnation from funeral industry professionals. 

 

The Stranger: The Architect Who Wants To Redesign Being Dead

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We've linked to the Urban Death Project story before, but those wanting to know more would glean much from this article. Katrina Spade is the visionary behind the Urban Death Project, a sort of green burial for those in urban areas. Bodies would be composted in urban decomposition chambers in a period of weeks or months after which their families could retrieve their remains in the form of nutrient rich soil.

Not only would it serve as a meaningful option of eco-friendly body disposition, but Spade is also researching the value that composted bodies, human and animal, could have in addressing the problem of degenerative soil caused by over-farming. Bodies are full of nutrients that could help replenish soil that is rapidly eroding due to aggressive agriculture and increased farming needs. 

Of course, in a society that has enough trouble even admitting that death happens, it will be a long time before the general public feels comfortable talking about the dead in terms of their "nutritional value", but for those who would like to "return to the earth" in the most literal sense, the Urban Death Project has an allure. 

Read the full article at The Stranger.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:55 )
 

Family sues SCI and Hospital over "lost" body

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A family from British Columbia is suing Service Corporation International and St. Paul's hospital after, the family alleges, the hospital released their deceased family member's body without permission to an SCI-owned funeral business. Jim Haliburton and Jackie Haliburton say that when their mother, Holly Haliburton, died at St. Paul's on February 7, 2013, an overly aggressive employee at First Memorial Funeral Services picked up Holly's body without permission after the family merely inquired about cremation pricing. The hospital, claim the Haliburton's  broke its own rules by releasing the body without proper signatures and authorizations. 

Jim Haliburton provided a legal statement of facts, which can be downloaded and read by clicking the "attachment" link at the bottom of this article. The Haliburton family has a blog detailing their case at funeralwatchdog.com.

Attachments:
Download this file (2015 Haliburton family v SCI brief.pdf)Haliburton Family v SCI fact brief 2015[ ]112 Kbm/j/Y
 

The World: Cheaper Chinese caskets get a chilly reception in the US market

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Our own executive director, Joshua Slocum, shares his theories on the criticisms some funeral directors have, of Chinese made caskets, in this interview with "The World". The interview is found here on PRI.org, in partnership with BBC.

"We all go back to the earth. I don't care whether you're cremated, whether you're buried in a sealed American casket or a non-sealed casket, there's no funeral product on earth that will make you any less dead." 

 

 

Alkaline Hydrolysis Bill Clears House Committee in Indiana

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A bill that would legalize alkaline hydrolysis is a step closer to becoming law, having cleared a house committee in Indiana.

Although the Catholic Church has not taken an official position on the issue, Indiana Catholic Conference executive director, Glenn Tebbe, remains a critic of the bill, insisting that flushing human remains down the sewer is "disrespectful and offensive".

Two things are worth remembering:

  • "My personal beliefs say this is offensive" is not a valid reason to restrict the choices of other people under state law. If it were, we'd have to outlaw cremation, body burial, and cadaver donation. Some portion of the American public finds all of these "offensive."
  • One wonders if the Indiana Catholic Conference finds the "traditional" method of embalming more "respectful." Millions of Americans, including Catholics, have their abdomens suctioned and the contents poured down the drain every year along with a healthy dose of formaldehyde. 

 

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 February 2015 13:18 )
 


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