I offer an alternative title for the well-written yet disturbingly informative tell-all by Kent Priestley [“Practically Alive,” Feb. 13] describing the morbid and Dr. Mengala-tinged “art” of taxidermy: “Firmly Dead.” … The article left me hopping mad, decidedly sad and, lastly, dumbstruck.
Gone are the days of the occasional road-kill bobcat stuffed and mounted—it’s dead anyway, have at it. [Bill and Linda Fuchs] boast of organizing between 30 and 40 safaris in a single given year, noting: “All that work comes back to us.” In black-and-white terms: “All that ‘blood money’ comes back to us” may be closer to the heart-wrenching truth. If not a flat-out sin, it is certainly a crime against nature—slaughtering beautiful, breathing and defenseless animals of the wild, caught up in the day-to-day struggle to simply try to feed and protect [their] young and stay alive themselves. …
From the text: “In a typical, year Wilderness Taxidermy & Outfitters mounts 400 African trophy animals … 25 whole bears” (and a long roster of other animals cursed to have crossed Bill’s path, of which I have both never heard of and find it a challenge to pronounce …). It appears to me that this loathsome couple runs around the world (yours and mine) slaughtering willy-nilly/carte-blanche … the Earth’s precious and coveted wild animals hovering on extinction. … Then there is the mention of all those elephant skins “curing” in the bins of salt … the sad cadavers hanging on the wall. But … some of these lovely stiffs acquire a certain utility factor: “Monkeys, bears, alligators mounted erect with card holders … holding matches, candles.” I wanna puke. It all makes such an undeniable mockery of “civilization.” Yet I thank author Priestley for [putting] the ugly truth out on the table.
What really topped this braggadocio [and] hubris was Mr. Fuchs proudly relating how he spent $40K to travel halfway around the world to end the life (in a most tortuous manner) of the king of the jungle—a lion, the fifth-largest ever recorded—that presently graces the hallway of their Franklin business.
These treasured (national/planet) species face enough poachers and the like, never mind Americans like Fuchs … running around the world slaughtering for the dollars to be made—and all unchecked. It’s plain disgusting, especially in recent light of the growing “green” movement—simply trying to make a concerted worldwide effort to all be better stewards of Mother Nature’s world.
— Jack Marston