I see these types of tags in the captions of the photos, in the biographies of the taxidermists website, and stamped on the top of the Instagram profiles of people who deal with dead animals in many ways. Taxidermy, bones, wet specimens and other animal products are becoming more and more fashionable. Everywhere you look, from your favorite bar to popular blogs and Pinterest boards, there are dead animal products.
Taxidermyis also a somewhat sensitive topic due to the fact that taxidermists obviously deal with dead animals, so labels have been invented to describe the acquisition of specimens in order to make buyers feel better about their purchases.
When I first started, I used this label myself, until I realized that its implications didn't make much sense. The outer surface of a taxidermy mount is made of organic material, so naturally this part of the mount will begin to deteriorate over time. The purpose of taxidermy is to preserve those organic materials, but if a taxidermy mount is not cared for, it will show dramatic deterioration in about 20 years or less. I have also noticed that many people criticize me and other taxidermists for having taxidermy licenses, saying that it is “just an elegant role of the government.
All I found were encyclopedia entries that discussed the history of craftsmanship and highlighted famous figures such as Carl Akeley, a taxidermist at an American museum who, starting in the late 19th century, revolutionized the way it was made, emphasizing that the skins of birds, fish and mammals should be mounted on replicas of bodies instead of being crudely filled. If you bring damaged animal skin to your taxidermist, it won't look as good after being taxidermied, nor will it last that long. Taxidermy was so prevalent in America and England in the late 19th century, according to Morris, that a taxidermist could be found in almost every city. It's OK to use leftovers, it's OK to use animals that have been killed specifically to feed other animals, but transparency is key and being honest about obtaining specimens is much better than blatantly lying to make yourself feel better, especially when you lie to maintain an identity as an “ethical taxidermist.
A further comment added that taxidermists shouldn't kill animals themselves, but most taxidermists are so busy being taxidermists that they don't hunt, and if they do, many of them eat the meat. I definitely agree with that, because without that animal, such a taxidermist wouldn't have a topic to work on. Ask your taxidermist to apply a protective dust spray to your mount, which will make cleaning the dust much easier. These animals are among those that keep the taxidermy industry going: on average, you'll see between 8 and 10 white-tailed or black-tailed deer (depending on the region) working at the same time in any commercial taxidermist study.
There are other taxidermists who work in the industry under the “ethical blanket” with very good intentions, but with a background in science, which means that sometimes their customers just don't understand big words and then get annoyed or angry. Taxidermists who practice without a license, or people who pick things up without a proper rescue or hunting permit are participating in the illegal trade in animal parts and technically becoming poachers in the eyes of the law. The problem with labels such as “ethics” is that there is no authority to hold taxidermists accountable for their moral conduct. I think it's wonderful, says Judge Danny Owens, considered one of the best bird taxidermists on Earth.
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