A lot of people have been writing in about a story related to a Costa Rican artist named Guillermo Vargas who has reportedly starved a dog as part of an art installation. The reason we’ve stayed quiet about this incident (in public, at least) is that if there is any truth at all to the allegations, the less publicity this man receives, the better. The best way to prevent desperate, ethically deficient “artists” from getting what they want is to ignore the perpetrators in public and prosecute them in private.
However, just so everyone is clear on this, there’s reason to believe that this may have been a stunt, and that some parts of this story (such as the starving of the dog) were actually fabricated for the sake of publicity. As this article in The Guardian notes,
“Juanita Bermúdez, director of the Códice Gallery, insisted [the dog] escaped after just one day. She said: ‘It was untied all the time except for the three hours the exhibition lasted and it was fed regularly with dog food [Vargas] himself brought in.’”
Whatever the cruel or weird game that Vargas is playing, if it turns out that he took this animal in and allowed her to go back out on the streets to fend for herself, he still needs to be held accountable for extreme cruelty to animals—but for the time being, the information is pretty patchy.
We’re currently investigating the incident, and I’ll update this blog if we get more information. In the meantime, whether Vargas intended it or not, this whole thing does provide an insight into human nature that will be worth considering once we’re able to look at the big picture: If we can muster up this degree of outrage about one incident of animal suffering, why are we any less horrified by the billions upon billions of similar or worse cases of abuse that we can personally help to prevent?