On April 18, a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design used a knife to slit the throat of a live, terrified chicken. He committed this appalling and deeply disturbing act of abuse against a defenceless animal in the middle of a busy cafeteria, while other students looked on in horror.
“He just decided to slowly slit its throat while it's wiggling, wriggling and screaming and then drained it out, popped its head off, strung it up, washed it, plucked it," said one student who witnessed the slaughter. "He drew it out… more or less probably for the shock factor.”
The student claimed that slaughtering the chicken was a piece of performance art that he was completing as part of his coursework. Meanwhile, the school has offered counselling to the traumatized students who witnesseed the incident.
It is a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and eyewitness accounts of the incident clearly show the chicken suffered. Despite this, the police and the Crown prosecutor have refused to lay charges against the man who ruthlessly and unnecessarily killed the chicken, claiming the incident does not meet the threshold for criminal charges.
A police spokesperson made the flippant remark that "Not a lot of thought went into this."
That's not good enough. This wasn't just a thoughtless act; it is full-scale animal cruelty. "Art" is no excuse for harming other creatures. If this student is not charged, others will feel free to kill and abuse animals in a similar way. Only criminal charges will send a strong message that our compassionate society doesn't tolerate disturbing and needless animal suffering.