A couple days ago this thread got me to thinking about my "job description" as a taxidermist. The person asked if anyone tanned a human skin to preserve a tattoo.
My initial thought was YUCK! Who in their right mind would want their loved ones skin hanging in their living room? Or better yet, what taxidermist would tan the skin. Judging by a few replies, there are some taxidermist who would take in the work (if legal) and not think twice about it.
I've had a few days to think about this and I'm still sickened by the thought. I dont know why I feel this way. I know human skin is biologically similar to animal skin and the tanning process would be somewhat the same. Isnt there some moral code that says we dont work on humans. I dismiss the comparison between us and the medical field. Taxidermy is a luxury item. Transplanted or harvested parts provide life to others.
I dont know why I'm posting this. Maybe I'm wanting someone to say I'm not nuts for thinking working on human parts is "YUK". I wonder if I would feel the same if someone put 20K on my desk to do the job.
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if,like in your case, it is the person's dying wish to have his/her body or parts thereof preserved, shouldn't it be honored as long as it is legal? I understand there is a gross factor here. I don't know whether I would do it due to the same reasons you stated above. But all this would come down to personal opinion and whether you could stomach it. Personally, I have no problem with someone wanting something like this done (just like mummification, casting the corpse, burning, etc), I just don't know whether I would be the one doing it or not.
It's easier to form an opinion when facing it has no consequences, HOWEVER, I'd never specialize in a single species either. They're just decisions we make. If you don't equate it to the cadavers used by med students, how about tummy tucks, chin tucks, and face lifts. That, too, is a "luxury" service.
I'd never try to convince anyone of this one as I think we only have ourselves to answer to anyway. I'd also charge an exorbitant fee for the service as I'd hesitate making to have anyone think it was a macabre practice that attracted certain dark sects of our society. I'd treat each case on its own merit
I think it is worse just to get a tattoo, or get hardware stapled to the face, lips, tongue and other body parts, hang from hooks imbedded in the skin and other odd unthinkable things. Some do that so you might walk up to them and say, hey, I think you are a wonderful person, I think I want to be your friend. We all do something for affection from others. I think that is part of getting a tattoo. I have seen some that were very nice and artful, and others that were just in bad taste. Nevertheless, for reasons I do not understand, it means something to them to get one. And if they want to pay for a preserved tattoo, why not take their money? That tattoo they got might be the biggest investment in their life, they got to have something to show that they were here. Now you pin cushions do not jump on me now, I have three brothers, three sisters and Mom and I, all tattoo free. My son has a tattoo high on the arm, under the sleeve of our Scottish family crest with a lion and flags, quite cool if I do say so my self. Not wishing here and I hope it never happens, but I would think about what we are talking about, but I hope he berries me first. So before you comment on those people for even thinking about preserving a tattoo, think of a family loved one in your family with a tattoo and ask yourself if you would have that done as a memorial left behind to cherish.
You feel that way Andy but people are always going to have differences of opinions on all subjects. I repect your view.
Yeah, it freaked me out at first but after seeing the art work and seeing how much it meant to the guy and his wife to find someone who would just 'consider' doing the job for them...I thought, (for a taxidermist), Is it any different to what a mortician does when they beautify a corpse for family viewing? Any different to a forensic scientist slicing and dicing away? Any different to a doctor transplanting pigs organs into humans?
In the end it is just another piece of skin and its only going to get eaten by worms or burnt in a fire.
Would i hang 'it' on a wall...no , i dont think so, ... but its thier $$$$ and choice.
After taking your views into consideration, it's doesnt seem so bad anymore. I never considered plastic sergury as a luxury item. The mortitian preparing a corps for viewing is also a good example. Maybe the "yuck factor" is wearing off on me. Thanks for your thoughts and good luck with the job (if you take it) Samantha.
for lampshades. Albeit, it was not at the request of the Jews.