Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
The crazy kids over at Alexis Bittar have started a blog, and one of the funnest things they've posted so far is an explanation of all the crazypants taxidermy that's part of the landscape in all Bittar boutiques.
We work with a talented taxidermist in upstate New York who obtains his animals from all around the world. Some of the animals in our store are from old museum collections; others are taken from wildlife preserves and zoos after they have died. Some, like our peacock in the West Village store, were actually pets of our taxidermist.The company's two leopards (one, above) are, by far, the most asked-about, since they're rare and endangered.
They were killed in Africa during calving season. Because the leopards kill the village’s calves, the government gives permits for two leopards to be removed once a year. If the government did not have any management in place, then the farmers would poison or snare all of the leopards in order to protect their cattle. Ultimately, the animals displayed in our stores (and sporting Alexis Bittar jewelry) represent a system that protects the animals as a population. Furthermore, the hunters that go to the villages for safaris spend 15 to 18 thousand dollars to be able to participate in the hunt. That money goes directly to the tribal council and local government, and the meat from the animals is distributed to the village.
· Our quiet pets [Alexis Bittar Blog]