University has scrapped its plan to build the nation's largest
"body farm" near a central Texas airport, over concerns that
accompanying buzzards could endanger nearby planes.
The university began scouting a new location for what would be
only the third body farm in the nation. The farms are used by
forensic scientists to study human decomposition. This helps law
enforcement better determine time and manner of death at crime
scenes, according to the Associated Press.
The university had chosen a 17-acre site on Texas Highway 21
near the San Marcos Municipal Airport (HYI). It had hoped to begin
burying bodies there later this year. But the university dropped
its plan out of concern buzzards would pose a risk to pilots after
meeting with the airport's commission Tuesday.
"While the increased risk might be very small, it cannot be
completely eliminated, and we cannot go forward with the Highway 21
site," Texas State provost Perry Moore said.
Protection plans for the body farm included a razor-wire fence
around the property, vulture-proof cages to protect exposed
cadavers and a 70-foot grass buffer around the site to absorb rain
Other such facilities are located at the University of Tennessee
at Knoxville -- which has operated a body farm -- since 1980 and
Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, which opened the
nation's second such facility last year.