Animal Rights Trump Freedom of Expression

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This is an example of where animal rights have trumped, through necessary force, freedom of expression as enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is staging an exhibition by Chinese artists who have emerged in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square.

Animal rights activists objected to three of the so called works of art. As a consequence they have been pulled from the exhibition because of ‘threats’. I agree with the animal advocates, I have to confess. Two videos featured dogs and pigs. The third art installation showed insects and reptiles fighting for survival. I can image how objectionable these ‘art installations’ are. They ‘enable cruelty to animals’ says Stephen Eisenman, a professor of art history at Northwestern University (he was not one of the animal rights protestors as I understand it). I agree with him. I agree that if art encourages animal cruelty it should not be exhibited. I shouldn’t be described as art. Art can be anything you want it to be and it can also be reclassified as rubbish.

Curators of the Guggenheim are dismayed. They say:

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“Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe and the US, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary.”

Previous exhibitions do not validify the present one. Sometimes you have to fight violence (against animals) with violence; fire with fire. There is no alternative. You have to break the entrenched habits of humans to force them to respect animals.

An online petition against the three offending ‘art’ works has gathered 700,000 signatures.

The famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei believes that it is tragic for modern society that the Guggenheim cannot exercise its right to free speech. I disagree, sometimes that most important of rights can and should be trumped by something equally important. The right to freedom of expression is not inviolable and sacrosanct.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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7 Responses

  1. Michele Massa says:

    China is the worst animal torturers and murderers. Look at the Yulin dog festival. They just dont see it as doing anything wrong and if there are laws they are not enforced.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Yes, absolutely Michele. They just don’t get animal welfare. That is not to say that there are not some great animal advocates in China because there are, but as a whole including the government, animal welfare is off their radar.

  2. Marianna Burt says:

    I signed that petition and commented on it. To me the worst part wasn’t the videos, because awful as they were they showed past actions that were no longer going on. But they also had a living exhibit of creatures struggling for survival, fighting, deprived of food, etc. Disturbing that a major museum would even consider presenting this as art.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Well said Marianna. This are not works of art in my view. Animal cruelty promotion cannot be art I say.

    • Dale Sommers says:

      But it’s perfectly okay with everyone to practice TNR and force cats to fight each other for survival so they eventually die of that “humane natural attrition” (in the rules of how TNR works) that they inflict on each other–of which every last TNR practitioner so proudly beams about themselves.

      Pitting cat against cat to fight-to-the-death for territory is ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than those who run criminal dog-fight rings to see who wins. They spend YEARS in jail. It is a highly punishable crime to force *any* domesticated animals to fight each other for their very survival.

      But you’re all PERFECTLY okay with this.


      Your blatant and transparent hypocrisy flies far beyond any semblance of the ludicrous and absurd.

      • Marianna Burt says:

        To Dale Sommers: I think you’re wrong about how TNR actually works. After being spayed or neutered the cats are generally returned to their familiar site and continue to be tended by the caregivers who have been feeding them. I don’t know of any people who practice TNR who simply release the cats to fend for themselves with no follow-up. Some TNR people I know have 5 or 6 feeding stations they tend every night. Has your experience of TNR been different?

        • Dale Sommers says:

          Pray tell then how TNR colonies fight-off any other cats from an area. Without that then the whole TNR concept falls into a well of deceptive lies. Those cats they fight-off then die from fight inflicted wounds and infections–you know, that “humane natural attrition” that sounds so rosy and loving when stated that way. Ever see a cat were there’s nothing but a puss-filled eye-socket where an eye used to be? The infection eventually winding itself down the optic-nerve to the cat’s brain and causing death. That’s caused by another cat fighting it for territory.

          Put your rose-colored glasses back on so you don’t have to read this.

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