Any suggestions on where I can purchase humanely sourced specimens ? I love in the city and don't come across much. Thanks !
Well, before I could answer that question I’d have to know what your definition of “humanely sourced” is.
“Humanely sourced” is one of those phrases that, like “ethical”, varies from person to person.
Do you mean animals that were killed quickly and as painlessly as possible? That would leave a lot of options open. There’s a chunk of eBay sellers, many Etsy sellers, big fur and bone websites like Moscow Hide & Fur, Facebook bone/hide/oddity seller groups, local furrier stores or oddity shops in your area, and then some who could offer animals who were killed in a humane manner. If you can find out the animal’s country of origin that would probably be your best indication, since you’ll be able to look up the country’s animal cruelty laws. Avoid anything coming from China, where there are currently no animal welfare/cruelty laws in place. (note: most stuff coming from China wasn’t necessarily killed in China, as they tend to be a larger buyer and processor of furs, however “it’s better safe than sorry”)
If you want to know that the animal lived a good life, I’d recommend getting to know farmers and maybe even pet breeders or websites that sell scientific specimens and may source from veterinarians and see what ones fit your needs and if you’d be willing to support them. I know Promise Land Tannery (also known as Furries on Etsy) often has farm-sourced animals, for example. You could also just stick to wild-caught animals, since you know those animals lived in the wild. Not necessarily “humane” in many situations (as there is always the threat of starvation, predators, exposure, etc.), but many people tend to view a natural wild life for animals as a good one. That would open up the door to buying from almost anywhere, so long as they sell wild-caught specimens. Just make sure to ask if the animals are wild or farmed, and know what species/variations are only found in captivity.
Do you mean animals who only died of natural causes, or as accidents like roadkill?
That limits things a lot more. I’d recommend going to Etsy and checking
out different shops. WolfTea comes to mind when I think of people who
strictly work with salvaged animal parts, though there are definitely
others out there. Another place to find them would again be on Facebook,
especially in the Vulture Culture groups on there where you can
specifically ask for people who work with found/salvaged specimens. Of
course, the oddity groups can and do offer animals that fall into this
category of “humanely sourced” as well. And don’t forget to look for sale posts here on Tumblr, too!
If you’re looking for animals that are plentiful and thus whose populations would not be harmed by harvesting them in any way, you’ll need to look into the particular animals you’re interested in collecting. For example, seahorses are currently doing very poorly, even though you can buy dried specimens and buy wild-caught seahorses as pets. There is, however, one and only one seahorse breeder located in Hawaii who would be an ethical source since their seahorses don’t have any impact on wildlife, and in fact by supporting them you are giving your money to the only breeder out there standing between seahorses and certain extinction by providing pets to the market. Likewise, foxes tend to be abundant in many places, however if you really wanted to do the most good you could choose to only buy foxes from Australia, where they are an invasive species and taking a large toll on native wildlife. Wolves in Canada are more plentiful than wolves in the lower 48 US states. Buying a ranched mink has no negative effect on wild mink. And so on, and so on.
There’s also other options, such as purchasing from thrift stores/second-hand stores, where you know your purchase will not be supporting the fur trade or any kind of black market directly in case that’s where your ethical qualms are. A good number of second-hand stores are also charity operations for various causes. You won’t know the cause of the animal’s death or how it lived though, so if that’s what you want to focus on you should probably avoid purchasing from these stores.
I hope one of those categories covered what you were talking about! Sorry I can’t give more specific names, there’s simply too many to cite and I’d hate to miss out on good ones that I just personally do not know.