Don’t stuff your animals; team anti taxidermy

By Campbell Parish, Magazine Editor & Operations Managing Editor

Don’t taxidermy your precious pet. After all, there’s a reason why the vet doesn’t tell you you’ll get your pet back in good shape if it dies.

As I scroll through TikTok, I look at the curated videos suggested to me based on my previously viewed videos, aka my for you page. I see a handful of pet taxidermy videos, more than I would care for. I guess the TikTok algorithm thinks I’m a taxidermy fan, and I’m here to set the record straight. I am a firm believer in being vehemently anti-pet taxidermy. 

This whole piece started when I saw a video of a poor dog after its owner preserved its carcass for their viewing pleasure. If you wish to not view the video, I will do the disgusting honors of explaining the video. The TikTok shows a pet chihuahua that now has an oddly bendy spine. 

The person who is responsible for the video is a ‘vegetarian taxidermist.’ Why did they include their meat preference? Who knows, but I now feel peer pressured to include the detail that I eat meat. 

Immortalizing your pet in your living room as a shelf decal seems more hurtful than honoring. Just because they were your pet does not mean you know what is best for them. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to become part of the furniture in your parents home once you pass even if your parents thought “that’s what you would have wanted.”

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@reanimatedremains works on preserving animals for their owners, with over 134,000 followers on TikTok and 14,000 on Instagram. As much as I disagree with stuffing the carcass of your dead pet, I have to admit that the taxidermy is well done. You have to give credit when it’s due and @realanimatedremains knows what they’re doing when it comes to making once living things into stiff, stuffed animals. 

The crux of why I’m anti-pet taxidermy is that I do not understand the purpose of the entire process. The animal has already crossed the Rainbow Bridge, a metaphor that all pets go to this peaceful place after death. A place where they are no longer in pain, they can play all the time, and have unlimited food.

Oddly enough, taxidermy is a profitable career path — according to Taxidermists Career Information “Those with five to 10 years of experience and proven skills can earn $30,000 or more. Some exceptional taxidermists can earn upwards of $50,000 annually. Museum workers might also expect to average $25,000 to $30,000 yearly.”

Taxidermy is a practice that is for the wealthy. I cannot imagine spending that much money to preserve your pet. Especially when not everyone has the luxury of spending around 200-300 dollars to keep their pet forever, and that is only for a cheaper taxidermy process. 

The practice is just so gruesome and it shows how little respect people truly have for any life that doesn’t resemble their own. Your beagle had a heartbeat just like you, so why would you treat the moments of his passing life as a nightstand? Animals, especially pets who are known for being a part of our everyday life, should be treated with the same respect you would treat your dead grandmother.  

Taxidermy is solely for those who are living, it doesn’t benefit the animal. It’s a selfish choice that we as humans make to help us sleep at night. 

I understand there are deep connections between animal and owner, and sometimes it is hard to let go, but there are better options than keeping them forever as a piece in your home for your guests to stare at. It is creepy, it can be cool, but it is mainly creepy. Let your pet rest, put them somewhere they would have loved, and please stop turning them into your disturbing version of a Build-A-Bear. 

It makes me think that if there was an ability to taxidermy people we loved who have passed on, people would do it. If you wouldn’t taxidermy yourself then don’t put your poor pet through it.