Skins n Things

Skins n Things

Ever given a thought to the life of the zebra whose skin you've just walked over, or the porcupine whose quills you've added to your African themed table setting? Probably not or possibly only a fleeting thought.

Every year millions of Rands are spent on curios, décor and fashion items made of wild animal products. It is not only the overseas tourist who buys these products, but also the local market. The market even extends to cultural and traditional supplies with bits and pieces of animals being sold in places from exclusive boutiques to street side vendors. It is amazing how many people don't consider that they or their homes are adorned with parts of dead animals and accept that these pieces are just decoration, almost factory made. Little thought is given to the previous life of the animal.

Many will tell you that the animals are killed for conservation reasons, like culling due to over population or the parts have been found lying in the veld. We beg the question as to how many people are traversing the veld in search of porcupine quills or guinea fowl feathers. How overpopulated are these animals to be able to generate the quantity of body parts on sale? When last did you see a porcupine? Have a look the next time you are walking through your shopping centre to see how many outlets sell porcupine quills or feathers, either individually or on an item.

There would have to be a serious disease amongst these animals to have so many quills or feathers falling off. This being just in your immediate area, let alone nationally or worse, the export market.

At a braai and the host pulls out the warthog tusks as bottle opener and with great glee pops the bottle top off? Ever seen a warthog farm? Almost every bottle store and curio shop sells these items so either there is a something awry or a lot of tuskless warthog are running about.

Looking at the number of hats made of jackal pelts Davie Crockett must have been reincarnated. Before buying one of these hats please remember that jackal are often persecuted as vermin by people whose mindsets have never progressed.

With an increase in the number of tourists about to visit our country one wonders how many more animals will have to loose their feathers and quills.

Make sure that you are not responsible for the suffering of animals because you purchased the trinkets.


Updated: 16 January 2012

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