Sporran maker criticised for use of road kill

A fox sporran by Kate Macpherson

A fox sporran by Kate Macpherson

A Beauly taxidermist is facing criticism from animal rights campaigners for creating sporrans from local road kill.

Kate Macpherson, a trained taxidermist for over 20 years, collects badgers, foxes, deers, and stoats from country roads near where she lives, and has licences to handle protected animals.

However, this hasn’t stopped a number of complaints from animal welfare groups.

The head of the Scottish Animal Rights Alliance, Lynda Korimboccus, claims that what Ms. Macpherson is doing is wrong, saying “using a dead animal for clothing perpetuates the idea that’s what animals are for. That will lead to the deaths of other animals which will be killed to satisfy the market for fur.”

In response to Kate Macpherson’s claim on her website, that the “sporrans are ethically sourced”, Lynda Korimboccus rejected this, stating, “to say these animals are ethically sourced is wrong – dead and ethical are not words that go together.”

Yet the sporran maker defends her work, saying, “If I didn’t pick up these animals they would be rotting in a ditch. I’m creating something useful from them rather than allowing their beauty to be wasted.

“But they’re not for everybody I admit. People seem to either love them or hate them.”

Duncan Chisholm, chairman of the Kilt Makers Association of Scotland, has also defended Kate Macpherson’s work, claiming that she is reviving a traditional form.

“Sporrans used to be made from a variety of small animals – pine martens, otters or wild cats – though a lot of them are protected nowadays,” he said.

“The key thing is that it has to be practical in both size and wearability, as it’s got to be worn on a frequent basis.”

Mr. Chisholm also suggests that it is better to use real skins, rather than ones made from synthetic animal hides which in his opinion do not look as good when accompanied by the natural fibres used to make the kilt.

Each sporran Kate Macpherson creates is unique, and takes around two weeks to complete. She produces 100 sporrans a year.


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2 thoughts on “Sporran maker criticised for use of road kill

  1. Marc van Koperen, Edinburgh

    I have recently seen Kate’s work. All her sporrans are outsanding and made with total respect for both nature and the craft of sporran making. I am totally opposed to any commercial breeding of animals for fur and I support anyone who is against this but to criticise Kate and similar craftsmen for using road kill is totally out of order, over the top and too far fetched. Aestetics and death go very well together. The fact that someone does not like or appreciate the use of roadkill has nothing to do with not having respect for the animal. I would say that the use of roadkill for items like sporrans is the ultimate celebration of modern recycling and tradition. I would say to the critic go and pester the people in the cars who can’t keep to the speed limit in our forests and fields who do the actual killing. I also wonder if she has ever tried telling a native American Indians not to use any feathers or hides; she would be surprised how close those people are to nature.

  2. Eric Murray

    I think these people who complain need to get a better hobby or life, since the formerly alive creature don’t care and it better than letting it rot. I understand it from some former life guilt how bad the English treated animals, but they get a bit silly this days.


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