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Strangling puppies in the name of art?

Taking his craft too literally for most, a German actor has been banned from the stage after revealing plans to strangle two puppies in the name of art and protest.

The artist, whose name has not yet been revealed, was set to do a performance of a play titled “Death of Metamorphosis” on Friday in a small theatre in the Spandau district of Berlin. Reports The Local, the act would have involved him suffocating two puppies with cable ties. After the dogs’ death, a brief meditation would follow, accompanied by funeral procession music, and a giant gong.

The concept, a take on traditional Thai artistic rituals, was designed to oppose the slaughtering of Alaskan sled dogs and Spanish hunting dogs, both of which suffer similar fates. According to a writer known as sorchajack on Yahoo! Voices, following seasonal interest, Spanish hunting dogs are typically shot, “beaten to death, hanged or even set on fire. There are some that are just abandoned in the campo or countryside.”

The New York Times provided further testimony in a 2011 report investigating the “’execution style’ shooting of as many as 100 dogs that took place after a business slump in the weeks after the Olympics ended,” in British Columbia.

Despite the artist’s supposedly honest attempt to shed light on the controversy, his plans were thwarted when he was brought before an administrative court in Berlin on April 27, and a judge shut down the proposal, citing animal protection laws that forbid the dogs from being harmed during live performance.

In response, the artist countered that Germany’s constitution "unconditionally guarantees artistic freedom."

The argument did not hold up in court, however, nor was it well received by the public.

"Another example of a "modern" taking things to unnecessary extremes in which they themselves become what are supposedly highlighting as hateful," comments reader AClassicRed on The Local. “I can't speak for how dogs are treated in Spain, but I am a North American Indian who taught in the Indian Education system and served as president of an association there for two elected terms. Some of these people, artists or whatever, so-called educated who like to think they are the ultimate in "humanity" and "humanitarian" have behaviors and [thought] processes which are really rather warped and so ignorant on true situations it is absurd."

Bigfoot76 concurs. "Unfortunately 'Art' is being twisted into too many perverse definitions. If things such as this were to be allowed, it opens the floodgates to even worse possibilities. Society generally labels killing/mutilating/torturing animals as juvenile delinquency."

Hard not to agree with the court's ruling. But at what point do you think does art ceases to be art? Tell us on Facebook.

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