Here at JonsBones, we say that we sell “responsibly sourced” bones. This is an intentional choice, rather than saying “ethically sourced.” To some, this distinction might seem inconsequential and unnecessary, but we strive to provide honest and unbiased information.
Ethics are inherently debatable. In the bone trade, saying that a skeleton was sourced ethically can mean many things. Perhaps it was obtained without the organism suffering, or the animal was not killed for the purpose of making a trophy. Maybe it was used in the meat trade, or died of natural causes. “Ethically sourced” can mean so many things, that it becomes vague and unwieldy.
At JonsBones, we say “responsibly sourced” because our bones are certified bones from the medical trade. The people they belonged to made an agreement to have their bones be used for that purpose. We do not deal in bones taken from gravesites, catacombs, ossuaries, or anywhere other than the medical bone trade.
Because of the anonymous nature of the medical bone trade, we do not know the conditions that these people lived in during their lives, or the circumstances of their death. What we do know is that these bones were and are legally procured. We follow the letter of the law, and while we personally feel that these bones were “ethically” sourced, we understand that that is up to interpretation. To be honest and transparent with you, the customer and collector, we say “responsibly” sourced to avoid any ambiguity.