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Artists Vs. Animals: 15 Artists Who Have Enraged Animal Rights Activists (PHOTOS)

11/24/2012 11:05 am ET | Updated Nov 26, 2012

This fall has been a rough month for animals in the art world. First, we found out that British bad boy Damien Hirst killed 9,000 butterflies for a questionable installation at the Tate Modern. Then we came across Belgian artist Jan Fabre's cat-throwing performance video, in which he, well, throws cats up a flight of stairs. This disappointing pair of artsy acts against animals got us thinking... Have artists always been this insensitive to animals' rights?

We did some digging and found 15 instances of artists abusing or at least questionably involving animals in their artwork. From forcing ants to consume McDonald's food in an enclosed tank to shooting a dog as art, the projects span the spectrum of slightly cringe-worthy to downright horrifying. They make us wonder, should animals be left out of art all together or is there a place for this type of transgressive work? It's certainly difficult to justify any sort of violence against defenseless animals, but what about when an artist cooks rats for a dinner party? Can we draw a line here? Does all art have to be moral?

Scroll through the slideshow below and let us know what you think of the Artists vs. Animals dilemma in the comments section. In all of these cases, the artists were met with resistance and often outrage by animals rights activists, but you be the judge.

Artists vs. Animals: 15 Artists Who Have Enraged Animal Rights Activists

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