Instead of tackling actual animal welfare issues, this week ARAs are mad about *spins wheel* a fake taxidermy lion head. Ok then.
Pics for anyone out of the loop:
I stitched a video about this over on TikTok and everyone is convinced the animal heads are real, lol. Which, to the artist’s credit, they did an AMAZING job and I know I’d be honored to have one of those heads up on my wall next to my real taxidermy.
The main arguments I’ve seen against these fashion items can be summariezed as follows:
-They look very realistic and a lot of people thought they were real, causing upset.
-People are mad that it still paints wearing animal remains as fashionable.
-People are mad that they’re doing it with vulnerable/endangered species and potentially putting those species in more danger (which doesn’t apply to the wolf, but people still think gray wolves are endangered so I’ll give that a pass).
-People are convinced rich people will see these and not want to settle for faux and will seek out the real thing.
Personally I can see both merit and ridiculousness to each of these points. Well, mistaking them for real animals is just a mistake, I don’t blame people for being duped especially in post-edit photos. But the rest are debatable.
Do the animals promote wearing dead animals, or is it just your regularly scheduled high fashion hijinks?
Does this create a demand for poaching vulnerable/endangered animals, or does it show we don’t need to use real animal parts because faux alternatives can be made so well that many people can’t even tell the difference?
So to answer these questions I’m trying to see how people feel about similar items.
Remember those tiger head backpacks?
I don’t particularly remember a lot of outrage about those. Do these cross a line because they “glamorize” wearing dead animals? Or promote poaching of endangered species? I mean this one even comes with the added sin of using a white tiger, which comes with its own host of unethical breeding issues, so in theory this should be even worse than the fashion show outfits, right?
Or heck, what about any fursuit parts, especially realistic ones?
Is this problematic because it’s an endangered species? Would an item like this create more demand for poaching the real thing?
What about these lion art dolls? Will someone see this and think, “I need a real lion taxidermy mount?
As a fursuiter, general animal lover who used to obsessively collect animal memorabilia, and someone who has a collection of real animal skulls, pelts, and taxidermy mounts I find it interesting to discuss. Where is the line drawn? How realistic are we allowed to make things before they become problematic? Or is it not about how real it looks, but the popularity of who is promoting it? Do these items create the same issues? Is it purely because it was an outfit?
Are we allowed to be happy with faux alternatives to the real deceased animal? Or is the only solution to either make something so unrecognizable that it’s a mere caricature of the original creature, or just avoid emulating an animal’s natural beauty altogether?
I am genuinely curious on what people’s opinions are on this, if anyone wants to reblog or just comment with replies.
What’s weird to me, and what I think reinforces something that I’ve noticed about people’s opinions on animal welfare, is that they are, in cases like this, completely centered on the humans.
I’m not kidding, many people, upon hearing that these are fake, say “I don’t care if they’re fake or not!”
Really? So if I said “hey, I’m thinking of going out to kill a snow leopard, or maybe I’ll just have some apple juice and not kill a snow leopard,” these people would say “I literally do not care whether or not you kill a snow leopard, I have zero concern for the animal, I am only concerned with whether I am to look at weird art.”
And these are the people who think they’re defending animals!
People are arguing this really fervently, that “the feelings of the animals don’t matter.”
This is just a perfect example of what I’ve been seeing for years: some percentage of internet anger about animal welfare has nothing to do with animal welfare, just human ego.
(Not everyone , but it’s weirdly common!)