It really bothers me seeing real animal skulls and parts in craft and jewellery, particularly millinery. It bothers me because there is no need to use them as there are plenty of companies that produce quality replicas.
I was browsing facebook last week and saw a post in one of the anti-hunting groups I follow. The post was pretty graphic and involved a hunter posting a not very pleasant picture of a fox. I won't go into detail here but the story ended up enraging so many anti-hunters that it made the national news and can be read here .
This blog isn't about animal rights specifically & I don't want to go into a great deal of detail about my personal views on the man who did this (but you can imagine what they are). The story hit on something that has been bothering me for a while. Part of this man's defense for killing the fox was that he had shot it 'because he had had an order from some goth for a fox skull- you can get £20 for a good one'. Now I know that places like Ebay are full of animal skulls and parts such as bird wings and antlers and that they are found in woodland from naturally deceased animals and antlers are naturally shed too. It never occurred to me that there might be an incentive for some people to go out and purposely kill animals to make a quick buck on their skulls and body parts; call me naive but I always assumed that they might have been a by product (for example, antlers are a by-product of the venison industry and are sold in bulk for dog chews and walking stick handles etc). There seems to be a nice sideline provided by places like eBay for these things and whilst some might say that it's good to use all of the animal and not waste it, I am inclined to disagree.
If there is a demand for skulls in the craft industry there is an added incentive for those who like to hunt to get that extra kill or to actively seek out an animal and kill it. It's that simple. I would rather seek out alternatives or not use skulls at all.
There is a great shop on eBay that sells resin skull replicas & the original skulls are ethically sourced called CrimsonRichDesire so it is possible to create the same effect without the danger of fuelling a dodgy industry. They are slightly more expensive, but it's worth it.