Citing animal exploitation and cruelty, at least two dozen activists in NYC staged a protest at “Fly By Night,” a month-long art exhibit during which 2,000 pigeons wearing LED lights are forced to fly in the dark over the East River, potentially subjecting them to stress, disorientation and drowning in the frigid water below. Pigeons, who have poor night vision, only fly during daylight hours.
Protest organizer Nora Constance Marino, President of the Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund, told TheirTurn that the group’s message is very clear: “Animals are not art exhibits.” Marino’s efforts resulted in a New York Times article about the protest, which opens with a strong animal rights message: ‘No one asked 2,000 pigeons if they wanted to have lights strapped to their legs in the name of art. Nor did anyone ask the birds how they felt about being shooed from their homes at dusk and sent flying up to illuminate the Brooklyn sky.”
Protester Elena Natale said that several ticket-holders decided to boycott the event after activists explained why using live animals in art exhibits is inhumane: “While most attendees put on their blinders as they walked past us, several open-minded people wanted to understand why we were protesting.”
In a post on the Facebook page of Creative Time, the arts organization that is funding the pigeon show, Karen Davis, President of the national avian advocacy group United Poultry Concerns, condemned the event: “Perhaps what strikes me most significantly about this Fly By Night exhibit is the part where the pigeons are trying to land and get rest, but are forced to fly even though they are bewildered, scared and exhausted. . . No one who respects pigeons and empathizes with them as fellow creatures would dream of mistreating them so meanly, strapping gadgetry to them, and putting them in danger.”
The use of live animals in art exhibits was recently addressed in a CounterPunch article critical of the practice written by Elliot Sperber, a New York-based writer and lawyer.
Filed under: Entertainment
Tagged with: art gallery, pigeons