It’s A Raid!

If you remember, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post called All The Pretty Dead Things, in which I discussed the plethora of bones, dehydrated animals, and other suspiciously taxidermized items at the antique market where I work. They sell like crazy, and over the last few weeks, I’ve had to ring dried rabbit ears, cow ribs, hawk legs, and even a whale vertebrae through the till, much to my dismay, because I don’t believe for a second that a whale vertebrae was ‘ethically sourced’. But apparently someone else agreed with me, because when I dropped Kate off at work the other day, there were several official looking men speaking with the owner. AND THEY HAD WARRANTS. They were from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and if you don’t know what that is, imagine the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and then pretend they’re Canadian. Because the NRF has just as much power as the ATF and are also allowed to carry guns, although none of the guys who were at the market were armed.

The MNR showed up unannounced, based on a tip from someone who had been in the market and was taking pictures of things that they deemed illegal. Their first stop was a booth run by a friend of mine which happened to have a vintage stuffed and mounted fish, which generated much consternation among the Ministry agents, despite the fact that the fish in question had been caught approximately 40 years ago. So I just now googled “Can I sell a stuffed rainbow trout in Ontario?” and the answer was a) ABSOLUTELY NOT and b) terrifying because according to their website, even if the fish is long dead, if you get caught, you can face fines up to $100 000! And I’m so happy I didn’t know that when I sold Frank, the stuffed and mounted fish that I found at the side of the road and sold for ten dollars at a yard sale over two years ago (the post where I wrote about it was called One Man’s Junk, in case you’re interested).

The MNR was there all day, going over each of the almost one thousand booths with a fine-toothed comb, and ended up confiscating not only the stuffed trout, but a variety of other animal products, including half the inventory from the booth that sells exclusively jewelry made from animal bones and terrariums containing desiccated barnyard animals. Ironically, they DIDN’T take the whale vertebrae, because apparently that’s not their jurisdiction. So I guess we’ll be receiving a visit from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries soon—do you think they carry guns or harpoons?

Hand over the fish!

36 thoughts on “It’s A Raid!

  1. Well that’s gotta to be slightly terrifying and expensive for those in the crosshairs of the MNR. So if the MNR take all or most of the dead stuff away: 1) what do they do with the evidence after they’ve made their case? and 2) why is it illegal to trade in animal corpses/ bones/ taxidermied carcasses other than because of the gruesome factor? Is it just endangered species that were poached? I get why it would be illegal to deal in human remains, but not sure about animals. 3) Are crosshairs an animal by-product ever? I’m thinking not, but now I have a deep desire to find out about the origins of that word. Too many thoughts bringing up so many questions. 🙄 Mona

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  2. Wow. That’s so interesting that you can’t sell something from before the laws went into effect. I feel sorry for the vendor who sold bone jewelry. We have similar laws in the US, but they aren’t well-publicized, other than those regarding Bald Eagle feathers. I’m assuming that Rocky the Squirrel was fair game (pun intended).

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  3. Several years ago I read something by a guy who had a narwhal horn and was terrified when he crossed the US-Canada border because, even though he’d gotten it from a Native person who’d passed it down for generations, it was still an incredibly illegal thing to have. It seems obvious there should be a statute of limitations on these things but I guess it’s just as obvious the MNR can’t carry radiocarbon dating kits so they can’t tell how old something is. Anyway I’m glad you didn’t get arrested, although the whale vertebra might need to go somewhere else.

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    • I really hope it does–I can only imagine how someone could get a whale vertebrae, especially since so many of them are endangered. It’s the same place that sells dead, mounted rare butterflies that are bred on farms just to be killed. It really makes me sad.

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  4. Wow!! Well, I mean it’s not surprising that they paid the antique mall a visit. But again you have the most adventurous life of anyone I know. Work raids, sneaky mice, Atlas the Wonder dog, Blaze for Dayz Shane!

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  5. Damn. Regulations have come down hard all over the planet. Black market animal parts are of course a thing, black bear bile and such. But, hell, you can still trap and sell fur animals, but, maybe they’re severely regulated too.
    Rainbow, huh? What about a mounted Asian Carp or Snakehead?
    “Can it reproduce?”
    “What? It’s bloody-well dried up like a mummy.”
    “So, that’s a no?”

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  6. Gee, that was a day of excitement for the Antique Mall! Whale bones… I still have one antique domino piece that’s hiding in one of my sewing boxes. I unearthed it recently. I’m de – accessioning as my friend says, trying to find good homes for my things.
    I thought, uh oh, when I found it cause its likely ivory.
    Long ago I had found an entire majong set made out of ivory. I didn’t keep it long.
    But I wonder what your inspectors would have thought about my student job in the Natural history museum. They had a section just to “touch and see”bones and dead animals. I had a whole speel for the groups who came through the museum about the bones and animals. It was a new way to be “Hands on” for the kiddies and the adults after the tour of the dioramas about local wildlife.
    It seems gruesome in todays world, but scientists still kill animals for research… but I digress.
    Love the squirrel garb.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow – even confiscating long dead items. Those guys don’t mess around!

    One time I volunteered at a museum and a long time employee – who, unbeknownst to me, was slowly going crazy – GAVE me a white snowy owl. I was so shocked I took it, but when I got home I called the museum. They didn’t want it back. In fact, I called several museums, but none of them wanted it, either. Who knew it was so hard to unload a stuffed owl! I finally donated it to a thrift store.

    Liked by 3 people

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