This is not recent news, but it is new to me. I'm usually a liberal supporter of freedom of speech (and artistic expression), even when -- or especially when -- it is offenseive to narrowminded, conformist mores. But I don't like it when people use live animals in art. I just think it is cruel and unnecessary to do this. Why can't people just leave animals alone? Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding an article on this that condemned Delvoye; most, like this one below, were positive.

Wim Delvoye’s art farm

Wim Delvoye is an oddly fascinating fellow, from creating a machine that actually manufactures REAL POO (!), to other artistic ventures ranging from stained glass field goals to other works of “poop art“. The Belgian artist bought a pig farm in Beijing, China and has been churning out tattooed pigs. Wim’s tattoo art ranges from Disney characters to Louise Vuitton signature pattern to Russian prison tats. Buyers have the option of “adopting” their pig and watching it via web cam while it lives out its days getting tattoos, being fed sugar cubes by visitors and frolicking in a grassy meadow. Each pig receives individual care from appointed “moisturisers” to keep the tats in good condition up until they reach maturity, then they harvest said tattoos in a few ways. You can either have your pig taxedermied, you can get the raw hide to hang on a wall and If you want it real classy, you can get it stretched over canvas. PETA would have a field day with this guy! be sure to check out more here!

Tags: Pigs, animal-rights, art, cruelty, farms

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Replies to This Discussion

i am confused; they are real tattoos?

i am all for art in all its forms, but this is cruelty to animals. as much as i love chinese culture and its people [i hope to live in beijing someday and am studying mandarin], it doesn't surprise me that this is happening in china.
Yes, real tatoos. You can find some photos of them actually doing the tattooing.
weird, you know hardly anything about this project, but still you are full of opinions.
I hope you are all veganist, at least that.
Ever thought about the fact that is a critique on consumerism, and animal abuse for the food industry, and that these pigs (tattooed under sedation) are being pampered and live a happy life as artworks, instead of being slaughtered for their meat?
It looks like the pigs are under when they are being tattooed. I wouldn't exactly call healing up from a tattoo that painful, doubt its any worse than an ear cropping or tail docking. Probably no where near healing up from being spayed or neutered.

Personally I wouldn't want to subject an animal to any solely cosmetic modifications, but if we're going to freak out about tattooed pigs its hypocritical to say nothing about cropped ears and docked tails.

Now I find the thought of harvesting the tattoos horrific, but is it really any worse than eating pork products? Are the pigs being treated worse than farm pigs? I don't think that I know enough about the specifics to really say.
I am against cosmetic surgery such as ear cropping and tail docking. I think my biggest problem with this is the objectification of the animal. I realize that the tatooing itself may not be all that painful, and the animal is probably completely unaware of it, but it just seems unnecessary-- like dying your poodle pink. They're not toys, dolls, or playthings. I think that that is my issue with this.
Fair enough. In my mind its an issue of consent. An animal can't consent to having its body permanently altered so it doesn't get my approval. Perhaps I was misreading the reaction, but it seemed like consensus was that it was an issue of causing pain to an animal.

Would your reaction be different if it were some sort of body paint or temporary tattoo?
I also want to mention that putting an animal under anesthesia involves certain risks to the animal as well. Every time I've had a dog or cat sterilized or anything that requires surgery, they are put under and I have to sign a release form of consent just in case the animal dies because of the anesthesia.

Under those circumstances, it seems additionally unnecessary to put a pig under just so you can tattoo him.

I don't think the tattooing is painful to the animal all that much, I'm sure. Animals do seem to interpret pain differently than humans. My dogs for example are very tolerant of rough play and play biting, and I've seen injured dogs lick hands and wag their tail, even though their leg was broken.

I am not the type to get up in arms over someone painting an animal (which has been done for art), or temporary tattoos. As I've said before, I don't live a blameless life, and I'm not just going around looking for people to judge either. Also, I've learned that it is important to choose your battles.

It is just that all this seems gratuitous, and like you said, the animal cannot consent to it. (Although my dogs didn't consent to being castrated, either -- but that was for a totally different reason. I like the legal concept that pets are sentient property. They are under your care, but your dominion over them is not absolute. They still have certain rights to life, resources, some freedom, etc.)

Some of the comments above have been like, to paraphrase: Well, they aren't being killed for food, so why are you complaining? Isn't being on that farm better?

Well, in a way yes. But why are those presented as the only two options? The logic is that since they are not being killed for food, that they might as well be tattood and put on display. But again, are those the only two options? I don't think so.

Also, those pigs are not on that farm for their benefit -- for the preservation of their lives. They are there for the greater glory of the artists. And that is the only reason.
Fair enough. I can agree with you on those grounds. I think that I misunderstood your reasons. Sometimes when looking at issues presented here its seems a bit dogmatic(I'm not innocent here), something that tends to evoke an equal and opposite reaction from me.

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