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Artist rapped for animal cruelty

MORE than 200 people in Bahrain have joined a global campaign to prevent a South American artist from chaining up a dog and starving it to death, in the name of art. Costa Rican contemporary artist Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas created an international uproar when he first attempted the stunt last year - though it is understood the dog escaped after a day.

Mr Vargas tied the animal without food and water under the words Eres Lo Que Lees (You Are What You Read) made out of dog biscuits, at the C—dice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua.

He now plans to recreate the stunt at the Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008 exhibition in Costa Rica later this year, to highlight what he brands as people's hypocrisy.

The Bahrain Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) e-mailed its members urging them to sign the petition to stop this from happening again and to pass it on to their friends.

The petition is available over the Internet at www.petitiononline.com

BSPCA secretary Claire Cunningham heard of the campaign through a friend.

"I can't believe anyone could do this for art and that it's going to happen again. People should sign the petition to try and do something to stop it," said Ms Cunningham.

The artist is reported to have created the work to pay tribute to Natividad Canda, a Nicaraguan man who was eaten by two Rottweiler dogs in San Jose, Costa Rica, on November 10, 2005.

In a statement to the Press, Mr Vargas said the important thing for him was the hypocrisy of people.

"An animal thus becomes the focus of attention when you put it in a place where white people go to see art, but not when they are on the street dying of hunger.

"The same happened to Natividad Canda, people were not (sympathetic) to him until the dogs ate him."

He also highlighted the fact that no one intervened to help the animal while it was on display.

BSPCA public relations officer Rachel Kirsopp criticised the artist for his negative approach.

"This is so negative, to tie up a dog and starve it to death. Why, if you want to do it for the sake of art, not take a dog in this condition and feed it and take care of it so the public can witness how quickly it will become friendly and loving creature," she said.

"That would give a positive message instead."

Director of the C—dice Gallery, Juanita Bermdez, insisted the dog was able to escape after one day and that it was fed regularly.



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