German court orders artist not to kill puppies onstage

By David Ferguson
Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:15 EDT
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Two sled dogs photo by Sirko Hartmann via Shutterstock
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A German court has ordered an artist not to go through with plans to kill a pair of puppies as part of a performance, according to The Guardian. The unidentified German artist planned to strangle two puppies on stage and perform a funeral rite for them as a way of protesting the killing of sled dogs in Alaska and hunting dogs in Spain when they are deemed too old or otherwise unfit to work.

The artist argued that the German constitution “unconditionally guarantees artistic freedom,” but was overruled by the Berlin administrative court. Judicial officials maintain that it is illegal to harm animals during the course of a live performance.

The piece, entitled “Death and Metamorphosis,” was to be performed in a small theater in Berlin’s Spandau district. The artist planned to strangle two puppies using cable-ties, then conduct a funeral rite involving a giant gong, according to German magazine “The Local.”

The ruling coincided with the announcement by a pair of students at Berlin’s University of the Arts earlier in the week that they were planning an art project that would involve the filmed decapitation of a sheep. The two artists claim that the work is a statement on humanity and democracy and are conducting an internet poll asking whether respondents want to see the sheep killed or spared.

One of the two students told “The Local,” that “The anonymity of the internet lures the perversity out of some people.” However, in the first six days of voting, the sheep’s execution gathered 190,000 “no” votes and 120,000 “yes” votes. The students plan to announce the results of the project in May.

(image by Sirko Hartmann via Shutterstock)

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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