Artist with taste for publicity to eat corgi in protest over royal hunting
AN artist has caused outrage among animal activists by announcing plans to eat a corgi dog on live radio in a protest against the Royal Family.
Mark McGowan says he will tuck into the dead animal next week to highlight the death of a fox on a royal shoot.
The performance artist made his name by sitting in a bath full of baked beans and sausages to defend the English breakfast and pushing a monkey nut round London with his nose.
He said: "I know some people will find this offensive and tasteless. But I am doing this to raise awareness about the RSPCA's inability to prosecute Prince Philip and his friends for shooting a fox earlier this year, letting it struggle for life for five minutes and then beating it to death with a stick."
The incident at a pheasant shoot, where a beater allegedly beat and stamped on a wounded fox, was widely reported.
But Libby Anderson, political director of Advocates for Animals, said of McGowan's plan: "It's completely abhorrent, pointless and exploitative. To try to use an animal that's done nobody any harm to make a political protest is virtually the same as exploiting children.
"There are so many sensible ways of making protests, but we wouldn't exploit one animal in the name of an animal cause."
McGowan's art usually takes the form of self-publicising stunts where it is hard to tell fantasy from truth.
At last year's Glasgow International Art Fair, his claims to have scratched the paintwork of 17 cars for an artwork spurred outraged phone calls and a police investigation. Later he said he had made the story up.
He set out to ride a shopping trolley from Glasgow to London, but gave up due to "bad weather".
He would not commit a crime by eating a corgi, as long as it was not treated cruelly. Klare Kennett, a spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: "If the dog was killed in a proper way there's no law against it."
"We did look at the incident with Prince Philip and the fox and decided no offence had been committed. Mr McGowan, if he wanted to, could launch his own private prosecution against Prince Philip."
She added: "It's unlikely that he will actually eat a corgi."
Earlier this year McGowan supposedly ate a swan at a London art gallery in front of television cameras. But an RSPCA inspector spoke to the artist and "it transpired there was no swan", she said.
In 2003, McGowan earned headlines by pushing a monkey nut along the ground with his nose to 10 Downing Street.
The plan is that the corgi will be cooked and eaten during a show on the London radio station Resonance.
A spokesman for the Royal Family said: "This is not something we would comment on."
Guy Hilton, of the Guy Hilton Gallery, which hosted the swan performance, said: "It was a swan. Two ladies who owned a smallholding found it on their land one morning.
"It's not particularly the act of eating the animals that makes it art, it's the way it's presented and used in the media. Often the act is almost irrelevant."
Francis McKee, curator of the Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Visual Art, laughed when he heard of McGowan's plan.
"There is a certain attraction to it. I'm all for it. If there are any remains he can put them in a doggy bag. Is it art? I think it qualifies. It scrapes through on the strength of the fantasy."
Cooking up a storm over animal dishes
DOGS are a popular item on the menu in Asia. The South Korean dog-meat industry is said to involve as many as one million dogs and supporters say it is no different from eating pigeons or snails in Europe.
Dogs are popular in China too, though people may be moving more from eaters to owners.
Horsemeat is said to be undergoing a renaissance in France. As many as 5,000 horses are being slaughtered in the UK a year, it is claimed, with their carcasses shipped to France.
Gordon Ramsay's Channel 4 show The F Word faced an outcry after it carried a segment praising the qualities of horsemeat. The journalist Janet Street-Porter was shown travelling to France, selecting a horse for slaughter, and then cooking up the meat.
Whale-meat burgers and steaks are on the menu in some Japanese restaurants, though some say the national appetite for the meat is falling.
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