The ETHICS of pet freeze-drying

Nobody discusses this topic! No even Psychology Today. There is quite a lot on the internet about freeze-drying your pet but nothing on the more important topic of whether it is ethical. So, what is frieze-drying your pet? Freeze-drying stops the decaying process by using a combination of very low temperature and vacuum application inside a freeze-dry chamber to remove all moisture which leaves the tissue otherwise unchanged. It can be a lengthy process of months for larger animals.

Having removed all the moisture inside the cat’s body, it is preserved. The people who provide the service say that the body will last indefinitely. I’m not so sure. High temperatures and high humidity will probably decay a freeze-dried pet. Wrong? Tell me.

The advantages of freeze-drying a pet is that you can position them in a way which pleases you and they retain their appearance which is vital to a pet owner. Taxidermy does not maintain an accurate living appearance and therefore is less suitable to pet owners retaining their pet after their death.

And that is the topic which I’m going to discuss here. The reason why people freeze-dry their pet is because they can’t let go.

Letting go. The ethics behind free-drying pets

They can’t say goodbye to their beloved pet. This is entirely understandable. It is painful to let go. Letting go is the process of mourning the loss of a beloved companion. It is part of the grieving process.

Freeze-drying your pet
Freeze-drying your pet. She did it. She explains the process. She does not explain the ethics. Screenshot from her TikToK video which has received millions of views.

Freeze-drying your pet somewhat or greatly avoids those distressing times, which provides us with the answer to the question as to whether freeze-drying your pet is ethical.

It can’t be because it is designed to bypass mourning and grieving. It is therefore self-indulgent and human-centric. It’s about a pet owner being unwilling to deal with the emotional distress of losing their animal companion. They need to grow up and deal with it.

It’s like taking a drug. It’s a failure to face up to the loss of a companion; the hard times. Far better and more natural to face up to it and grieve which is a healing process.

Speciesism

It’s worth mentioning that freeze-drying your cat is based upon speciesism. We are happy to freeze-dry a pet but we don’t consider it in anyway ethical to freeze-dry a baby that died prematurely. Or a toddler who died in an accident. People don’t freeze-dry them. They mourn their loss.

This is speciesism in action. And it comes about because we value pets less than we value humans. This is the case no matter how passionately we say that they are members of the family. And how we love them. We do love them but we don’t value them as much as we value human life.

Speciesism and how it can lead to animal abuse
Speciesism and how it can lead to animal abuse. Infographic by MikeB at PoC. This is free to use by anyone. Please credit me in the text to the article. Thanks.

Conclusion

So, the conclusion is that freeze-drying is unethical because it is self-indulgent and a way for humans to avoid the natural process of grieving and mourning the loss of their companion animal which is the natural and proper process. Freeze-drying disrespects the cat.

By far the best way to preserve your cat after their passing it in your mind; your memory. Memory is personal and perpetual. You take it with you on your passing to join your cat over the Rainbow Bridge.

Your comments are welcome. I accept and indeed welcome alternative viewpoints.

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Unsophisticated Aussies and Kiwis turn their pets into rugs and it’s disgusting

I have noticed, today, a few articles on online news media about taxidermists creating rugs out of domestic cats and dogs. It’s obviously disgusting. It is obviously self-indulgent. It obviously highlights a human weakness about death and being separated from their loved ones. And finally, it highlights a failure in the domestication of cats and dogs. This is not a good thing. It is disrespectful of companion animals. People need to grow up and accept the passing of their companion animal and retain memories in their mind.

Taxidermist auctions off his domestic and farm cat pelts
Taxidermist auctions off his domestic and farm cat pelts. Image: see image.

They should not retain those memories by converting a living animal into a rug for the floor of their home or their sofa where they might walk on it or sit on it. As I said, it doesn’t work.

If I was in charge of Australia and New Zealand, I would ban taxidermists who provided this obnoxious service. Taxidermists are sick. Perhaps they get a kick out of it.

I recently wrote about an Australian woman who runs a taxidermy business called “Chimera Taxidermy”. Her name is Maddie (Maddy) who said that this kind of service is on the rise. It is becoming more popular I guess because people are becoming more self-indulgent and idiotic.

Maddy turned someone's Golden Retriever into a rug
Maddy turned someone’s Golden Retriever into a rug: Image: Instagram/@chimerataxidermy.

She turns the pelt i.e., the skin of domestic cats and dogs into ‘leather’ which stops the fur falling out. Does that sound right to you? Talking about your beloved cat companion as a leather object?

The Sun newspaper’s report qbout a New Zealander taxidermist is even worse. He has a collection of ornamental rugs online of which several are the pelts of dead farm cats apparently.

The man’s name is Andrew Lancaster. He described the domestic cat rugs as suitable for “home, office, shop display, or mancave”. An insensitive person who simply does not see the problem. He says that people who can’t afford a lion or tiger skin for their living room should consider a domestic cat rug instead.

His auction took place in 2018 and apparently attracted more than 85 bidders during the first few days. The objects included a mounted version of his own pet cat.

One of the farm cats turned into a mounted exhibit had been in his freezer for a few years.

Clearly, I am not alone in disliking this sort of thing. Perhaps my views are stronger than for others, but I feel they need to be.

What is wrong with holding the memory of your beloved cat or dog companion in your mind? That is all you need to be with her on their passing. You might keep their ashes in an urn in your home as a tangible connection but remember that a properly cremated dog or cat contains no DNA of the animal. Therefore, there is no actual physical connection between the ashes and the deceased animal. However, there will be an emotional connection. But have your cat individually cremated and be present to check.

For me, this is about as far as it goes in preserving your deceased companion animal. We need to show respect for them and not abuse the body of a deceased animal.

As I said, it disgusts me to think that a cat owner can hand over the body of their cat to a taxidermist, a person they don’t know and in the business of making money out of stuffing pets and ask them to remove all the internal organs and mess around with the body in all manner of horrible ways. We shouldn’t do that.

Perhaps people who ask a taxidermist to stuff their pet or turn them into a rug should watch the process taking place. Perhaps if they did that, they wouldn’t instruct a taxidermist to do the work.

It reminds me of Paul McCartney of the Beatles making his well-known statement about abattoirs having glass walls. If they did people would stop eating ‘meat’, a euphemism for the flesh of a dead animal.

The lack of sophistication of these antipodean peoples is also evident in their cruel shooting and poisoning of feral cats; utterly inhumane.

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Would you stuff your deceased cat and put her on the mantelpiece?

When your cat dies would you ask a taxidermist to recreate your cat so that you could be with her after her death? Animal taxidermy appears to be catching on again. It also appears to have been at its most popular during the era of Queen Victoria in Britain. In Victorian Britain every town had a taxidermist and Queen Victoria had a collection of stuffed birds.

Dinho
Dinho. Photo: Luca Rotondo. I hope he’ll let me publish his photograph on this page. I know that he has copyright. My justification is educational. To discuss the merits or otherwise of the taxidermy of companion aimals. I therefore plead fair use.


It became unfashionable in the 20th century. This may have been because of its links to hunting and the illegal trade in animals. The problem of hunting and illegal trade persists by the way. The latter is worse than it was many years ago whereas there is a strong movement against sport hunting as a pastime. Despite this background there are people who want to use “ethical taxidermist” to stuff their deceased pets.

In fact, the word “stuffing” appears to be wrong. Taxidermist remove the skins and preserve them at freezing temperatures. They then arrange the skins around models of the original bodies. They are said to create lifelike results with painstaking work which can cost thousands of pounds and take several months. Some people are prepared to pay top dollar to allow them to keep seeing their cat or other companion animal after death.

The photograph on this page by Luca Rotondo, and published in The Sunday Times Magazine is of a cat who used to live with Alberto. The cat’s name is Dinho. Alberto lived with Dinho for five years. He said:

“I’ve embalmed his head to keep his memory alive as a form of respect and tribute, like a bust of an ancient Emperor.”

What you think about that? I may have slightly non-mainstream views about this but I will express them nonetheless. I don’t like it. I don’t think it respects the animal. Alberto says that he does it out of respect and tribute. I see the tribute bit but I don’t see the respect bit.

I can’t see how it can respect at cat or other animal to display them like this, deceased and artificial. The likeness can never be accurate because the object is dead. It lacks life and to see your cat entirely inanimate and without life every day cannot, in my view, be a pleasant experience. If you truly love your cat I don’t think you would love to see her like this. Far better to see her in your mind as a memory.

To think of her on those glorious, sunlit days when you saw her running through a field of flowers or on your lap looking up at you purring. The image that you hold in your head as a clear, brilliant memory is far better than a dead, static, inanimate reproduction of your beloved companion animal.

It’s like turning your cat into a lump of bronze sculptured to look like your cat. Actually that would be a lot better because it wouldn’t pretend to be your cat. I find it painful to look at this picture of Dinho. It’s so sad and I would say that it is disrespectful. Disrespectful of the act of death which is natural.

Perhaps, people who do this to their companion animal simply cannot accept the passing of their companion. If that is the case then it is a human failing. Taxidermy of a companion animal is done for the benefit of the person because of a failing that they have in their emotional reaction to the passing of their pet. Far better to deal with that failure than to support it with taxidermy. What do you think?

P.S. Humans don’t do it to their deceased spouses so why do it to a cat or dog?

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