For the past few years, PETA has been working with the College Art Association (CAA)—a national art organization whose membership includes more than 2,000 departments of art and art history in colleges, universities, and other institutions and more than 12,000 art professionals—pushing for the implementation of clear policies regarding the use of animals in art. In an important victory for animals, the CAA Board of Directors approved the publication of a statement of principles regarding animals in art that will help guide the practices of artists and curators. The principles state, in part, “No work of art should, in the course of its creation, cause physical or psychological pain, suffering, or distress to an animal.”
It’s unfortunate that these guidelines are even necessary, but certain intellectually and morally bankrupt “artists” turn to animal exploitation since they know that it will cause a cheap sensation and generate buzz. Their dubious number includes Tom Otterness, who shot a dog for an “art” film; Nathalia Edenmont, who kills and stuffs mice, rabbits, and cats for her work; and Marco Evaristti, one of whose installations involved putting goldfish into blenders, all but daring jaded thrill seekers to turn them on and shred the living animals—and some did.
The new CAA statement will encourage the creation of truly imaginative work that will offer new ways of looking at our fellow beings—without causing them harm in the process.
What You Can Do
Please check with the art department at your college or university to make sure that it’s aware of these guidelines and will be adhering to them, and be sure to alert PETA if you ever see live animals used in an art installation or discover that any animals are being killed for art.