Ethical Taxidermy and Conjured Creations with Lucia Mocnay
Lucia Mocnay of Conjured Creations discusses the ethics and ecological implications of taxidermy art. Lucia is exhibiting her work in our current show, Curios. See the online preview here.
The ethics of using animals for taxidermy is often considered a conundrum. Here in Australia, foxes and hares are causing widespread disaster for our small native animals and their habitats. Many of these small native animals are endangered and some have become extinct due to the introduction of invasive species. Foxes are great hunters and small native mammals are their prey. Rabbits and hares have the same diet that small natives have and they take over their natural habitats, cause land erosion where nothing can live or grow, and reproduce much faster than our small natives do. Foxes, hares, rabbits and wild cats among other invasive species, are seen as major pests in Australia and if allowed to populate freely without human interference, it would not be long until we would only see foxes, rabbits and hares in the wild. Many of our unique native animals such as the bilby, numbat and bandicoot would sadly be lost forever.
I personally have a great love for and kindred bond with foxes and hares as these come from my homeland of Slovakia. But sadly, I understand that these beautiful creatures don’t belong in Australia and do great harm. I am an environmental advocate and conscious artist and I feel passionate about making something positive out of this sad situation, while simultaneously raising awareness of the plight of native animals. Native animal conservation is intrinsically linked to the control of the population of wild foxes and rabbits in Australia. The Australian Government has measures to ensure the ongoing survival of our endangered native species, and this includes careful culling to control invasive species such as foxes and hares. Usually the culled animal remains would be discarded and forgotten, but instead, I attain the skins and create art, rather than see them go to waste. This is ethical and ecological taxidermy. Taxidermy art which aims to bring attention to these issues in hopes that more people look deeper and take action to protect our environment.
The foxes and hares in my work are dressed in costumes from all corners of the globe. They represent how these animals have spread to many continents of the world, have urbanised themselves and adapted to many different situations and environments – sometimes destructively so. My work explores parallels with human settlement throughout the ages and entertains the idea that soon enough, there will be humans (and hares!) on the moon.
If you feel strongly about saving native animal lives, please also keep in mind that domestic cats are huge problem too. If you have an outdoor cat please put a big colourful cat scrunchie on it’s neck, as well as a bell. This will save the lives of native birds who have keen colour vision, while mice whose colour vision isn’t as good will still be caught. Your cat will look very dapper while being a bit more eco-friendly. Marsupials who are usually out at night when vision is difficult can be saved if you bring your cat in from dusk to dawn. Everyone’s efforts in their own backyards, even in urban areas, have an impact on the whole ecosystem and can help conserve Australia’s unique native animals for future generations.
Please visit Conjured Creations for more information.