Friday, November 20, 2009

Gang 'killed victims to extract their fat'

In Peru police arrested three men, and are looking for at least seven more in connection with a scheme to ‘harvest’ body fat from humans to turn into a wrinkle reducer.  The black market in these fats has to this point been largely though of as an urban legend, since there is a plentiful supply of liquid fat available from donors.  The arrests let us know that not only is the black market real, but at about $50,000 for two bottles of human body fat, it is lucrative anywhere, but particularly in locations where incomes are far less than in the US and Europe. 

Many of us heard stories of the Boogieman as children.  He seems to take on different characteristics depending on where one lives.  In Peru, the Boogieman is the Pishtaco – a sort of demonic creature, said to resemble a human with white skin.  The Pishtaco were said to murder Indians on the roads and trails, and mutilate their remains.  When the Caucasian missionaries came they initially terrified many Incas because they resembled the white-skinned Pishtaco of legend.  The missionaries were thought to kill peasants for their body fat, which they used to keep their oil lamps lighted and their church bells oiled. 

I just cannot think of a single thing to say in commenting on this.  It is hard to imagine that dozens of people could be murdered simply to harvest body fat for high-end wrinkle treatment.  I wonder if this development will cause a decline in sales for the treatment, or if the pattern we saw with ‘blood diamonds’ – sales were not affected overall – and it will be something people express concern about but go right on with their purchases. 

I guess I can think of one thing to say:  It seems to me that this case cries out for the death penalty, and certainly it should be followed by extraction of body fat from the perpetrators of all these murders.  It is amazing what our consumerism and vanity becomes as it ripples across the globe to lower income societies.  Something we think little about because we can afford it, can be so extremely valuable in the second and third world as to cause murder – as in this case where the murdered number in the dozens.  Does that make the men who killed and removed body fat modern-day Pishtacos?  Are the people buying human body fat as anti-wrinkle treatments responsible in some way also?  I have to say that I will be quite surprised if we begin to learn that similar rings are going on around the world, but instead of body fat their target is harvesting organs. 

The Guardian


1 comment:

lofa said...

Scary to say the least. Reminds me of the movie "Silence of the Lambs" where that psycho killed plus size women for their skin. And one has to wonder what do doctors do with the fat from liposuction operations?? Surely the doctors don't throw the fat out, as doctors want to make a buck every way they can.

To say that fat isn't lucrative in the "black market" is one who wants to keep their head stuck in the sand and pretend that such evil doesn't exist in society. As usual, money is the root of all evil.

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