On April 18, 2013, a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, brought a live chicken into the school cafeteria. In front of spectators, the student slowly cut the throat of the writhing, screaming bird. The student proceeded to bleed the chicken out, remove the bird’s head and feathers, and drop her into a pot – all in the guise of performance art.
Neither art nor education ever justifies harming and inflicting fear, pain and suffering and death upon another sentient being. As Mary Britton Clouse, Executive Director of Chicken Run Rescue and Justice for Animals Arts Guild, says: "Art is about ideas. Animals are not ideas. They are as real as we are. Their suffering and deprivation are psychologically and biologically indisputable, in the present, and mean the world to each individual animal. No act of self-expression is worth the life or liberty of another."
The student`s actions must be recognized as blatant abuse and cruelty inflicted upon a defenceless animal.
Further, the student`s actions may be a sign of psychopathology. A large body of research indicates that those who inflict pain and suffering upon human victims often start by abusing nonhuman animals.
It is also disturbing that the students who witnessed the killing failed to act, and that a teacher allegedly approved the killing.
While the student who committed this cruelty should be prosecuted by authorities and disciplined by the school (along with undergoing mandatory psychological treatment), it is important that the ACAD act immediately to prevent future act of animal cruelty.
Please join [Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals (CETFA), United Poultry Concerns (UPC), Chicken Run Rescue, and Justice for Animals Arts Guild (JAAG)] in urging the Alberta College of Art and Design to adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting the use of nonhuman animals by its students, faculty or staff, as well as prohibiting and penalizing animal cruelty in the name of “art:” or any other school-related activity. A Code of Ethical Conduct should apply to all students, faculty and staff. Penalties should include expulsion and failure to graduate for students, and job loss for teachers and staff.
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ACAD President and CEO Daniel Doz
ACAD Director of Communications Anne Marie Dorland
ACAD Head of Program Richard Brown