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Exploitation for art is no worse than exploitation for dinner

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Animal rights groups are upset about a performance art piece that will mimic sacrifice and use a very real bull’s carcass and blood to do it.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Animal Liberation Tasmania has led thousands to sign a change.org petition in hopes Hobart City Council and Lord Mayor Sue Hickey will cancel Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch’s June show. The three hour free event is described as “a bloody, sacrificial ritual that contains distressing imagery, nudity and strong adult themes”.

500 litres of animal blood is set to spill, something ALT think “trivializes the slaughter of animals for human usage, and condemns a sentient being to death in the pursuit of artistic endeavours.” Leigh Carmichael, of the Dark Mofo art space hosting the event, clarified only a locally-sourced, humanely-killed carcass would be involved and that it’s the intention of Nitsch to eat the meat following the show. Oh, brother.

It always seems to come back to a confused juror deciding when animal use is justified. When animal rights group protest that art is not a reasonable excuse for an animal’s death, they invite this “happy” meat rebuttal. It allows people to surmise that if an animal being used isn’t harmed and if it can provide sustenance to someone, that’s more justifiable. To non-vegans, signing this petition and protesting this show will help support that there are worse or more evil ways to use a living being, and make them feel better about only eating or wearing animals in contrast.

This show and the attention it has gathered illuminates the very real need of animal advocates to promote veganism. Until we unequivocally support all animal use as wrong, people will continue to attempt to justify their uses over someone else’s. But all use is wrong, and all animals deserve freedom from our plates, our closets, and our shows. It doesn’t matter if blood is spilt behind the closed doors of a slaughterhouse or very publicly in an art gallery, it’s equally unjust. Going vegan and helping others do the same is the only way we can help end the exploitation of animals.

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