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Artists ethical statement
All of the artworks are made using ethically sourced animal and insect remains. Foxes, rabbits and feral cats in Australia are introduced species causing widespread damage. They have endangered the native Australian ecosystem and have brought our rare native animals to the brink of extinction. They cause land erosion which adds to global warming and climate change. They overpopulate as Australia has no apex predators to keep their numbers in balance. Humans carelessly brought them into the country and created the problem, so humans have to be the ones to fix the problem. For these reasons they are ethically culled on environmental protective orders. Instead of their bodies perishing and going to waste, their skins are saved and I give them a second life.
I personally have a great love for and kindred bond with foxes as they come from my homeland of Slovakia. Though I have come to understand that these beautiful creatures can’t co-exist in Australia without doing great harm to the native ecosystem. As an avid animal lover and environmentalist I maintain high morals and ethics when using animal parts and donate to wildlife charities which help rebuild our native Australian ecosystem, aid climate change and encourage our native animals to thrive, so the foxes, cats & rabbits deaths are not in vain. No creatures are harmed for the art itself. Fox, rabbit and feral cat furs from Australia are some of the most eco-friendly and ethical furs available on the planet.
The history of invasive species in Australia & extended information:
The Australian Settlers of the 1800’s brought foxes to Australia from England as they loved the sport of hunting. For the past two hundred years they have been left to reproduced at an alarming rate and have spread to all corners of the continent. In Europe and America there are large carnivores which balance the populations, though in Australia we don’t have any. Our native marsupials have been their breakfast, lunch and dinner for hundreds of years and fox populations are going strong, living in the outskirts of cities as well as in the country.
Rabbits were brought over to farm for meat, and have since been set free. Rabbits have the same diet that small natives do so they compete with our natives and they take over their habitats, cause land erosion as they eat every plant in sight, which then causes desert where nothing can live or grow. Rabbits also reproduce much faster than our small natives do, so they have become the majority of small mammals in our country. The problem is so vast that many Australians have never seen our native bilby, numbat or bandicoot in the wild but everyone has seen feral rabbits.
Cats were brought over as companion animals, and are actually my favourite animal. They have escaped the domestic confines and have returned to their roots living off the land in the outback. They have also grown quite larger than their domestic cousins in some parts of Australia. Unfortunately they eat native birds and small mammals, even domestic cats in suburban backyards cause similar damage. As cats are loved by many, programs to solve the feral cat problem were tried. To capture and spay and return feral cats creates great stress in the animal, they still eat natives for their lifetime even if spayed, and once they are feral they cannot be domesticated and rehomed so the programs were dropped and culling them was decided to be the most ethical solution for the animal itself.
Environmental Protection Agencies in Australia are battling to undo our forefathers mistakes, though as you can see below by the number of foxes present, it’s not a winning battle.
(Graphic image warning below – hundreds of dead foxes strung up along a fence)
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My role, art statement and ethical stance
I am an environmental advocate and conscious artist and feel passionate about making something positive out of this regretful 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. Usually the culled animal remains would be left to rot, like in the image above, but instead, I attain their skins and create art, rather than see them go to waste. This is ethical, ecological and conservational taxidermy. Taxidermy which also aims to bring attention to these issues in hopes that more people look deeper and take action to protect our environment.
The animals in my work are dressed in costumes from all corners of the globe. They represent how these animals have migrated 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 may be humans (and rabbits) on the moon.
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How you can help
If you feel strongly about saving native animal lives, please 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.
A percentage of proceeds from the sales of my artworks is regularly donated to Australian Conservation Foundation, and some charities I have regularly donated to in the past: Nature Conservation Council, Mt Rothwell Conservation & Research Center, Bush Heritage org, Backyard Buddies.
More information – Eastern Barred Bandicoot Program, foxes in Australia, rabbits in Australia, how to stop your cat from killing birds. cat scrunchie purchase, speaking for the bandicoot, bandicoot factsheet, bandicoots at Cranbourne Gardens, red fox abatement plan,
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