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Sunday, 20 April 2014

image for The First World War reenacted - with taxidermy War: hell for stoats

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It is a solemn occasion to remember a dark chapter in human history, which led to the deaths of 20 million people, over half of them civilians.

To commemorate the event, Dorking's premier taxidermist Robin Stuffing has created a life-size replica of the trenches of the Western Front. The roles of soldiers and officers are all played by stuffed animals.

It is his life's work. "This is my life's work," he said. "It's hard enough to get a badger to fit inside a tiny German WW1 uniform, tin hat and all, but I've done it for almost 700 animals."

The montage has been created in a field just outside Dorking, and features an astonishing level of detail. On one side, brave Tommy stoats man machine guns, while fearless squirrel infantry attempt to cross the perilous barbed wire of no man's land.

Facing them across the dangerous landscape are a group of terrifying Hun gerbils clutching their rifles. It is a moving and slightly nauseating scene where the stench of death is never far away.

Many of the war's major players have been included in the display, including Field Vole Marshal Haig and his main opponent Kaiser Whalehelm, whose bloated carcass fills a large part of the German half of the field.

The work will be open until the 28th of July, the anniversary of the war's beginning, when it will be symbolically detonated to represent man's inhumanity to man (and animal).

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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