Tattooing animals for cosmetic purposes really gets under some people's skins... just imagine how these pigs feel. This disturbing concept sheds light upon the complex issues surrounding pet ownership, animal rights and the nature of art itself.
Wim Delvoye is originally from Belgium but he's relocated to China to avoid the EU's animal rights laws. Is Delvoye doing animal wrongs, then?
After being tattooed under light sedation, the pigs are regularly fed, cared for, and allowed a “free range” type of lifestyle at Delvoye's Chinese farm. Some might say that Delvoye's tattooed pigs are far better off then those born, raised and slaughtered for food at government-approved commercial farms (including many in the EU).
Delvoye tattoos pigs with a wide range of motifs from decorative to commercial (such as Louis Vuitton logos). After the pigs have passed on, their distinctive hides are removed, prepared, displayed and occasionally sold to collectors. (tattooed pig images via Flickr members cisc1970 and rocor, made available under respective Creative Commons licenses)
Though comments accompanying images of tattooed pigs and other animals online typically range from shocked to scathing, an appreciable minority either don't mind the practice or state their approval of it. One wonders, would they tattoo their children thinking it's their right and privilege? The difference is, said children might just hold them to account some day. Animals can't do that so it's up to us to act responsibly with creatures for whom we care, while they're in our care.
So what do you think about tattooed animals on? Do you think it is art, abuse, or an abomination?
*** UPDATED on December 27th, 2018 ***