Act for International Animal Welfare
The following is from the WSPA (World Society For The Protection Of Animals)
No excuses for cruelty
In 2007, artist Guillermo Vargas showed an emaciated live dog in a Nicaraguan gallery. Despite public outcry, the country's lack of animal welfare laws meant he faced no consequences. This year, when Vargas was invited to compete in an art show in Honduras, WSPA and member society the Honduras Association for the Protection of Animals and their Environment (AHPRA) acted to ensure this cruelty could not be repeated by any artist.
Elly Hiby, WSPA's Head of Companion Animals, commented: “Information regarding the treatment and fate of the dog used in the 2007 exhibition is inconsistent, but for WSPA – irrespective of the exact outcome – chaining a dog without food or water for public entertainment is a reprehensible abuse”. Our attempts to discuss the matter with Vargas' representative were met with silence.
But images from the Nicaraguan gallery were not forgotten. When Vargas was invited to enter the VI Central American Visual Arts Biennale (to be held in Honduras this year), an independent internet petition against the artist and his work attracted over two million signatures. WSPA sought a meeting with Business Owners for Art (Empresarios por el Arte), one of the sponsors of the Honduras Biennale.
In the meeting, WSPA's representative gave sound welfare arguments against the work shown in Nicaragua and formally requested that the Honduras AHPRA be invited to observe the Biennale exhibition.
After pressure from WSPA, the Honduras AHPRA and the public, the Biennial organizers have agreed not only to make AHPRA official observers but also to include new competition rules that prohibit the abuse of animals.
While we are satisfied that no-one will be able to abuse animals in the name of art during this forthcoming exhibition, stronger laws need to be in place that prohibit animal cruelty. WSPA and member society UCC are currently supporting a campaign, led by the Commission for Natural Resources and Environment of the Nicaraguan Assembly, calling for legislation to protect animals in Nicaragua.
You too can support the protection of animals worldwide by signing the Animals Matter to Me petition. This calls for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, an internationally accepted set of principles about the treatment of animals that would encourage countries to improve their legislation.
Sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare >>