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To stuff or not to stuff?!
April 26, 2017
Never thought that I, (obsessive lover of all animals) would ever have a conversation that began… “Got any dead owls?”
Turns out Adrian, the local Taxidermist did have a few owls, along with a selection of other smaller birds. Adrian explained that he wasn't confident that the small birds would defrost successfully (yes they were in his freezer, hopefully not next to the fish fingers) but he would have a go and get back to me.
Our new Suffolk friends Karen and Jim have a ‘dead room’; an amazing collection of taxidermy ranging from, birds, foxes and other mammals. I was instantly obsessed and although a little creeped-out I wanted a dead, stuffed creature of my own.
So Adrian called back… unfortunately the little birds didn't defrost successfully (what makes an unsuccessful defrosting of a dead bird I’m not sure) but he did have a barn owl and a tawny owl.
After much deliberating and my husband chipping in with his unwanted opinion that “sometimes taxidermy owls..especially barn owls can have a comedy surprised look about them” I finally made my decision. The barn owl.
Taxidermy has made a bit of a revival. It’s now seen in bars, restaurants and setting trends in homes around the country. The ethical sourcing of new taxidermy is obviously extremely important. Sadly the biggest cause of death of British wildlife is roadkill or catkill. A good Taxidermist will never have an animal killed for the purpose of Taxidermy, they will use what had already died from roads and other animals, or Zoo’s and falconers will be in touch if an animal has passed away from old age. Modern taxidermy should have documentation to say the animal was not unlawfully harmed for the purpose of taxidermy.
Antique taxidermy is another matter. Although some of these old specimens were undoubtedly hunted, I personally see no harm in trading them today. Destroying them will not bring the animal back.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be comfortable with a ginormous wild boar's head over my bed but I am glad Adrian did have an owl in his freezer. He's a beauty. (The owl not Adrian) and has pride of place in our home and hearts.