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Hello! It’s Hank. I’m making a video right now because I’m about to upload a video about my time at the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum at the University of Montana – which is an awesome place.

But I figured that some people might be concerned about the ethics of having what is basically a zoo of dead animals.

I think that the ethics of a zoo of dead animals is actually a little simpler than the ethics of a zoo of non-dead animals because those animals have to live in captivity, and that’s not fun - whereas dead animals don’t care.

What I would be concerned about, you know, why the animals are dead – first. That’s an important thing to be concerned about. And originally yes, naturalists went out and they caught and killed and stuffed and took the skeletons out of animals, you know, to have a scientific record of where the animals were and what the animals were. And it’s nice to have. It’s really nice now that we have all of those old animals so that we can study what animals are like now vs. what they were like then – what diseases they have now or had then, etc.

But now, that stopped in like the 60’s, I think for the most part, I’m not entirely sure. But it’s defiantly stopped- it’s not happening anymore. Animals that come into the zoological museum’s collection now - a variety of sources, for example they were stuffing a mink when we were there. Mink live wild in Montana – they got the mink from someone. Someone donated the mink because their cat killed it. And that’s why you should keep your cats inside. I mean that’s a big animal for a cat to kill, but they can do it.

Other sources, like a lot of the birds die, they, like, fly into buildings. That’s where a lot of the birds come from now, and also cat kills. Roadkill, hunters will bring in animals that they shot for sport, and that`s certainly not something, they’re not, like, paying hunters to bring them animals or anything, that’s just like, you know, ‘I have an elk skeleton do you want it?’

Or I have, like, a particularly interesting animal, like the 4-legged duck that I show in the video. Or this animal has this disease that I think should be documented, etc.

There’s the ethics of the actual killing of the animal, which doesn’t happen anymore, and then there’s the ethics of, like, is it okay, like, for us to take the animal out of the environment, and, you know, put it into a museum and sort of gawk at it.

I think that that’s okay, because I don’t think that dead animals care. I see that as kind of reverence, but I can defiantly see how other people would disagree with me on that point. I don’t see any ethical problem with it. It’s a useful scientific resource, they have scientists going in and out of there all the time, studying there animals to help protect them in the wild, to help understand their populations, how their populations have grown or moved over hundreds, like more than a hundred years now. And that’s all really valuable scientific information and it’s also a valuable resource. They have elementary schools that come through there, and they teach kids about all the cool animal stuff.

I am not ethically concerned about it, but I understand if you are, and I think that we should have a discussion if you are.

That is all, and I hope you enjoy the video, and I will see you later, goodbye.