Vegan Taxidermist Uses Roadkill as Advocacy

Scottish taxidermist uses animals killed by cars to put a face on the leather industry.


Last month, Scotland-based vegan taxidermist Emma Willats launched online shop The Dapper Dead where she sells sporrans (pouches traditionally worn in Scotland over quilts) made from animals killed by cars and those who die of natural causes. Willats creates the sporrans using a mixture of leather from old sofas as well as the bodies of animals she finds roadside near her home in the wilderness of Aberdeenshire. As a vegan, Willats’ believes her taxidermy work can bring awareness to how animals are exploited for fashion by putting a face on leather, literally and figuratively. “If it even starts one dialogue … about why it’s okay to use animal products, but not [okay to use] something with a face, I feel it has all been worthwhile,” Willats says. “At the moment I’m inundated with badgers,” she continues. “I don’t know what’s going on with badgers right now—they’re all getting killed.” That phenomenon can help explain the recent expansion of the government-enforced badger cull in the area in order to protect dairy industry profits.