While we all have varying opinions in our personal beliefs regarding the use of animals, most of us would at least agree on attempts to minimize their suffering. Unfortunately, there are some who torture, maim and kill animals in the name of art, attempting to reach the ranks of the avant-garde... trying to convince people they have created something of value.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1999 law that made it illegal to create, sell or possess of depictions of animal cruelty and was targeted at the sales of “crush videos,” which show women crushing small animals to death with their bare feet or high heels. Excluded was anything that contained “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value."
Even though most people wouldn't draw a comparison between an undercover video released to educate the public about animal cruelty and a snuff film, the case brought back the question of what has value and drew concern from a variety of animal welfare, media and art organizations.
The vote overturned the conviction of Robert Stevens, who was found guilty of selling videotapes of dogfights in 2005 under the guise that “he is an educator, and his subject is the history and status of pit bulls,” despite reports of his involvement in the dog fighting world. SCOTUS believed that the law was overly broad and violated Stevens' First Amendment right to free speech.
In a victory for animals, a new law was put in place to deal with crush porn, and another was drafted to deal with other depictions of cruelty, but there are still many others who have and who continue to hurt animals and defend their work using artistic expression or culture, whose work is in stark contrast to the work of other artists, like this fabulous group, who use their creative talents to engage an audience in other ways and use art as a means of expressing their awe of the natural world and the creatures in it and those who use art to promote animal welfare and compassion, even if their medium isn't directly related to animals.
Is it all really that subjective? Can these acts of cruelty really be considered a form of art that has value to society? Or is it the attempt of simple minds to get away with something grotesque by trying to attach a deeper meaning to the brutality they inflict on their innocent victims?
There are currently two petitions related to use of animals in art.
The first is a Change.org petition that is aimed at stopping Katinka Simonse, who is an "artist" living in Amersterdam and works under the name "Tinkebell". She has been killing animals, including her own pet cat who she made a purse out of, in the public eye and continues to not only get away with it, but profit from it as an artist.
The petition does have a graphic image, but if you can stand it, please sign it. Hopefully the more pressure that's put on officials http://www.change.org/petitions/bring-animal-killing-artist-katinka-simonse-to-justice
You can see more of her work here, if you care to: http://looovetinkebell.com/ (we will let you cut & paste the link yourself to emphasize that we are not supporting this site).
The second was a Care2 petition regarding Guillerno Vargas who outraged the world in 2007 with his exhibition of a severely emaciated homeless dog who was reportedly denied food and water at an exhibit in Nicaragua. While there are conflicting reports of what actually happened to there, the dog is believed to have died of starvation and oddly, the Central American Biennial of Art decided it was in fact art and invited Vargas to do it again in 2008 in Honduras, which was followed by a petition with more than 2 million signatures against it.
He was recently invited by the Central American Biennial of Art to recreate the scene with another dog. The petition against this received more than 80k signatures http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/476/619/334/ That petition was just closed, but you can still sign the pledge to boycott Vargas here:
A word from Team EFA Captain
Nicole of brizel4TheAnimals: