• Question: What are your views on taxidermy?

    Asked by Giller_98 to Colin, John, Kevin, Shikha, Triona on 10 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Kevin Motherway

      Kevin Motherway answered on 10 Nov 2014:

      Oooh good question. I have to say its great to see realistic models of animals that give you an appreciation for nature, but how did you get the model??? I’ve seen plenty stuffed badgers, but never one in real life. I don’t think any university zoology teaching department would be complete without a good set of taxidermy. As long as its an animal that was used responsibly for teaching and scientific purposes and isn’t a trophy for some Tax Consultant who’s shot a tiger to have a nice trophy over his fireplace I’d be okay with it. Its like in my job I sometime drive a huge LandCruiser 4×4 which has the negative image of being a gas-guzzler; but its needed to get into landfills and over rough ground and its full to the gills with scientific equipment that allows us to monitor the environment and ultimately protect it. A necessary evil. I think Taxidermy fits into that category too. When used for noble purposes like educating the ecologists of tomorrow I’m okay with it. If its for hunting themed decor in a pub…count me out.

    • Photo: Tríona O'Connell

      Tríona O'Connell answered on 10 Nov 2014:

      I think taxidermy is fascinating. I’d love to try my hand at it sometime (I’ve seen courses run by the Morbid Anatomy Museum in New York).
      Physical animals can be helpful tools for teaching and researching away from the animal’s environment. I’m not keen on it for trophies mounted on walls though.
      I’m failing to find an article I read the other year on the Natural History Museum in Dublin and how parts of its collection are sent to a taxidermist in the Netherlands for repair. In the meantime, a UCC professor interviewed the stuffed giraffe, so you can read that instead http://www.communicatescience.eu/2012/01/chat-with-spotticus.html (the giraffe is a relatively recent addition to the collection but animal itself died in a zoo in the 60’s)

    • Photo: Shikha Sharma

      Shikha Sharma answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      Hi Giller_98,

      I believe this is morally wrong and taking advantage of our superiority as creatures, robbing the life of an animal so that we may stuff it and mount it as a trophy. But it means different things to different people. Good taxidermy can show the play of colors on a skin, the movement of muscles bunching on the shoulders or the movement of the ears. Many people will never go to Africa, but because of mounts of animals in museums they can graphically see the difference in size of various antelope, the distinctions between wild sheep species, and the effect of coloration as camouflage.