Thursday, January 8, 2009

Honor among Taxidermists

The facts of this story aren't all in, but, at the moment, it seems possible that Lawton McKenzie's arrest for animal cruelty may rest on nothing more than the ordinary "mutilation" involved in being an amateur taxidermist who also butchers one's own goats for food:
A man accused of animal cruelty says those charges are blown out of proportion after authorities found dozens of dismembered animals on his property. . . "What society's saying is that it's wrong for me to eat a chicken I've raised but alright for me to go buy from the store. I don't see what's the sense," McKenzie told WITN.

McKenzie says he is studying taxidermy and that some of the animals authorities discovered were those found by him along the side of the road.

Authorities said they discovered knives, a machete and bowls of blood when they visited McKenzie's home in Fremont last month. Investigators also found dead dogs, goats, sheep, owls and other animals.

McKenzie tells WITN that he butchered goats and ate them for food, while he also raises chickens for their eggs and food.

Born in Jamaica, he says he grew up around a culture of people butchering their own meat for food. "What makes me different from you just because I'm not afraid to go clean my own food up? Maybe I should . . . get my hunter's permit and just shoot my own, just shoot the goat first."

. . . The Fremont man tells WITN that he has always complied with previous animal control requests to care for his animals and had wanted to turn his property into a animal learning center for children. "I see dead foxes all the time, I see dead owls... Other people don't pay attention to that stuff, but I do. I think it could be a learning tool," says McKenzie

McKenzie is free on bond from the animal cruelty charges and says he was fired from his job this morning at the Fremont Rest Home.
Speaking as a taxidermist who has reclaimed her share of roadkill, I find his defense to be, at the very least, plausible.

h/t My North Carolina local news aggregator, otherwise known as "Mom."

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