Proposed Border Wall's Threat to Wildlife Rallies Diverse Artists
For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2019
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – Following reports that the miles of razor wire erected at the U.S./Mexico border in the past few months are already wreaking havoc on imperiled wolves and jaguars, PETA is calling for submissions of pro-wildlife artwork to display on the border wall, should it be erected—and commercial artists are vying for the opportunity. One of them is well-known Los Angeles artist Phil America, who submitted a patriotic and moving piece featuring eight individual flags bearing the Edward Abbey quote “We Need Wilderness Because We Are Wild Animals.”
PETA points out that President Donald Trump’s wall could spell death for members of more than 1,500 species of native animals and plants, including 62 listed as endangered or vulnerable. It would cut off animals such as javelinas from water and food sources that they depend on, and it would prevent animals from accessing migratory pathways, because—unlike humans—many species can’t scale, burrow under, or fly over a high, solid structure.
PETA notes that the Salineño Wildlife Preserve, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the National Butterfly Center, and Bentsen–Rio Grande Valley State Park are just some of the wildlife-protection areas that could be severely damaged or wiped out entirely by the proposed wall. Animals under threat include ocelots, ferruginous pygmy owls, Mexican gray wolves, desert bighorn sheep, cottontail rabbits, Quino checkerspot butterflies, and dozens of ground or low-flying bird species.
“The wall would deliver a death sentence to millions of living beings who happen not to have been born human but whose ability to migrate and day-to-day existence depend on freedom of movement,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “The artwork submissions that we’ve received capture the devastation that the border wall would cause, and PETA vows to put them to good use should this blight be built.”
PETA will advocate for the placement of all suitable submissions on the wall and is offering a $1,000 cash prize (plus $500 worth of art supplies) for the piece that best reflects how the wall would harm wildlife. The group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist belief that certain species (such as humans) are inherently more valuable than others. America’s artwork has been exhibited in cities across the U.S. as well as in Athens, Greece; Johannesburg; London; Seoul, South Korea; Toronto; and elsewhere.