Skinning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A Kalanga man skinning a goat at the annual Domboshaba cultural festival 2017 in Botswana

Skinning is the act of skin removal. The process is done with animals, mainly as a means to prepare the muscle tissues beneath for consumption or for use of the fur or tanning of the skin. The skin may also be used as a trophy, sold on the fur market, or, in the case of a declared pest, used as proof of kill to obtain a bounty from a government health, agricultural, or game agency.[citation needed]

Two common methods of skinning are open skinning and case skinning. Typically, large animals are open skinned and smaller animals are case skinned.[1]

Skinning, when it is performed on live humans as a form of capital punishment or murder, is referred to as flaying.

Skinning methods[edit]

Case skinning is a method where the skin is peeled from the animal like a sock. This method is usually used if the animal is going to be stretched out or put in dry storage.[2] Many smaller animals are case skinned, leaving the skin mostly undamaged in the shape of a tube.[3]

Although the methods of case skinning individual animals vary slightly, the general steps remain the same. To case skin an animal, it is hung upside down by its feet. A cut is made in one foot, and continued up the leg, around the anus and down the other leg. From there the skin is pulled down the animal as though removing a sweater.[4]

Open skinning is a method where the skin is removed from the animal like a jacket. This method is generally used if the skin is going to be tanned immediately or frozen for storage. A skin removed by the open method can be used for wall hangings or rugs.[5] Larger animals are often skinned using the open method.[6]

To open skin an animal, the body is placed on a flat surface. A cut is made from the anus to the lower lip, and up the legs of the animal. The skin is then opened and removed from the animal.[7]

The final step is to scrape the excess fat and flesh from the inside of the skin with a blunt stone or bone tool.[8]

Dorsal skinning is very similar to open skinning, however instead of making a cut up the stomach of the animal, the cut is made along the spine. This method of skinning is very popular among taxidermists, as the backbone is easier to access and cleaner than the stomach and between the legs.[9] A dorsal incision is made by laying the animal on its abdomen and making a single cut from the base of the tail to the shoulder region. The animal’s skin is easier to remove if the animal has been freshly killed.[10]

Cape skinning is the process of removing the shoulder, neck and head skin for the purpose of displaying the animal as a trophy.[11]

Animal skins and Native Americans[edit]

Native Americans used skins for many purposes other than decoration, clothing and blankets. Animal skin was a staple in the Native Americans' daily lives. It was used to make tents, to build boats, to make bags, to create musical instruments such as drums, and to make quivers.[12]

Since Native Americans were practiced in the means of acquiring and manipulating animal skin, fur trading developed from contact between them and Europeans in the 16th century. Animal skin was a valuable currency which the Native Americans had in excess and would trade for things such as iron-based tools and tobacco which were common in the more developed European areas.[13] Beaver hats became very popular towards the end of the 16th century, and skinning beavers was necessary to acquire their wool. In this time, the beaver skin drastically rose in demand and in value. However, the high number of beavers being harvested for their pelts led to a depletion of beavers, and the industry had to slow down.[14]

PETA's stance on skinning[edit]

To raise animals for the purpose of collecting their skin is called fur farming. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleges that fur farmers are involved in skinning live animals.[15] Killing tactics deemed brutal by PETA are also a concern. Many fur farms allegedly skin animals alive to keep the pelts intact from damage that could occur while killing them. To avoid bullet holes, tears or slits from a knife, fur farmers can use methods such as beating the animal, electrocuting them, using poison to paralyse them, or breaking their necks.[16] Although these methods ensure an undamaged pelt, they are sometimes not enough to confirm the death of the animal, leaving the creature to be skinned alive.

The fur trade, however, insists that the only evidence of a fur animal ever being skinned alive was almost certainly staged by animal rights activists. This was a video taken in a Chinese market of a raccoon dog being skinned alive, released in 2005 by Swiss Animal Protection.[17]

The fur trade furthermore insists that, for several reasons, animals are never skinned alive.[18] Aside from the inhumanity and illegality of such an act, it says that skinning an animal that was still alive would expose the operator to the risk of infection from the animal's claws and teeth, as well as to the risk of being cut with their own knife; would take longer than skinning a dead animal; and would result in a spoiled fur because the animal's beating heart would cover it in blood.

Among many campaigns, one of PETA’s goals is to enforce animal rights so that animals will not be used in any way as tools for humans; including as family pets. This includes utilizing their skin for clothing or decoration, and especially hurting the animals in any way.[19] Therefore, regardless of the method used for animal skinning, PETA is against the industry in general.[20]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Churchill 1983, p.2.
  2. ^ Burch 2002, p.63
  3. ^ Burch 2002, p.66
  4. ^ Churchill 1983, p.44
  5. ^ Burch 2002, p.63
  6. ^ Churchill 1983, p.44
  7. ^ Churchill 1983, p.44
  8. ^ Wiens, Ray. "Taxidermy and Field Care Tips and Tricks". Hunting Tips and Tricks. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ Triplett 2006, p.52
  10. ^ Triplett 2006, p.53
  11. ^ Wiens, Ray. "Taxidermy and Field Care Tips and Tricks". Hunting Tips and Tricks. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  12. ^ Pritzer, Barry. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  13. ^ Carlos, Ann M., Frank D. Lewis (February 1, 2011). "The Economic History of the Fur Trade: 1670 to 1870". EH.net encyclopedia. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ Carlos, Ann M., Frank D. Lewis (February 1, 2011). "The Economic History of the Fur Trade: 1670 to 1870". EH.net encyclopedia. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Fur Farms". PETA. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Fur Farms". PETA. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Chinese Fur Farms: Media Wary of Latest Shock Video | Fur Commission USA". furcommission.com. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  18. ^ "5 Reasons Why Animals Are Never Skinned Alive". 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  19. ^ "Animals rights". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Uncompromising Stands on Animal Rights". PETA. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 

References[edit]

  • Burch, Monte. The Ultimate Guide to Skinning and Tanning: A Complete Guide to Working With Pelts, Furs and Leathers. Guilford: The Lyons Press, 2002. Print.
  • James E. Churchill. The Complete Book of Tanning Skins and Furs. Mecanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 1983. Print.
  • Pritzer, Barry. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  • Triplett, Todd. Big-Game Taxidermy: A Complete Guide to Deer, Antelope and Elk. United States of America: The Lyons Press, 2006. Print.