It may seem obscene when an artist who kills 9,000 butterflies gets international attention for destroying thousands of beautiful creatures, and Damien Hirst, the man behind the gross installation, has not hesitated to destroy living things for art in the past.
How did the artist kill 9,000 butterflies this time? It sounds like quite a lot, right? As we reported earlier, Hirst’s exhibit at the Tate Modern in London, “In and Out of Love,” involved thousands of live butterflies to swarm about, nibble fruit, and alight on the shoulders of museum-goers who then often times fatally brushed the winged creatures off or trampled them … leading to the deaths of hundreds of butterflies a week at the exhibit.
And when all was said and done, the artist had killed 9,000 butterflies simply via their inclusion in the piece, something we quoted the RSPCA (Britain’s version of the ASPCA) as decrying:
“In this so-called ‘art exhibition’, butterflies are forced to exist in the artificial environment of a closed room for their entire lives … There would be national outcry if the exhibition involved any other animal, such as a dog. Just because it is butterflies, that does not mean they do not deserve to be treated with kindness.”
While the artist who killed 9,000 butterflies is unrepentant, PETA has spoken out about the mass butterfly slaughter, saying:
“Damien Hirst’s quest to be edgy is as boring as it is callous. It does not matter whether Hirst killed the animals himself or sat by while thousands of them were massacred for his own unjustifiable amusement. Butterflies are beautiful parts of nature and should be enjoyed in the wild instead of destroyed for something predictable and unimaginative.”
Hirst himself explained that he employed butterfly experts at “considerable cost,” and says that many of the winged lovelies were afforded longer lives than they would have had in nature due to the exhibit’s controlled atmosphere.