Is it art, or animal cruelty?
Is it art, or animal cruelty? A tortoise with an iPad mounted on its back (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Is it art, or animal cruelty?
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A Colorado art museum is standing by an upcoming exhibit featuring three tortoises with iPads mounted on their backs. This despite calls from animal-rights activists to call off the exhibit as animal abuse.

The Aspen Art Museum released a statement supporting the exhibit by Cai Guo-Qiang called "Moving Ghost Town." The exhibit opens Saturday as part of the grand opening of the town's new $45 million museum.

The African Sulcata tortoises will roam around grass on the museum's roof deck garden. Each will have two iPads showing video of area ghost towns.

The museum said the tortoises were rescued from a breeder and that a veterinarian is overseeing their care. Their diet includes leafy vegetables. The iPads are on mounts used to attach tracking devices to wild animals, the museum said.

"The three are being closely monitored, cared for, checked by a local veterinarian at regular intervals, and are being exhibited in consultation with the Turtle Conservancy," spokeswoman Sara Fitzmaurice wrote. She said the tortoises would get new homes after the exhibit closes Oct. 5.

The Museum also sent a statement from an Aspen veterinarian.

"The iPads have not interfered in any way with their natural behavior," Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said in the statement.

But the creator of the petition to stop the exhibit disagreed.

"These creatures were not designed to carry 2-pound iPads," Lisabeth Oden told the Aspen Daily News.

Critical thinking challenge: Why might the artist have chosen tortoises to carry the iPads?

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  • Jason0421-YYCA
    8/18/2014 - 07:09 p.m.

    I think that the museums shouldn't have IPads attached to the tortoises' back because that would be animal abuse. Even though that the IPad is so that you can attach a tracking device on the tortoises, it is unfair for the turtle. I agree with Lisabeth's that the turtle doesn't need a 2-pound iPad on their back. I hope that the tortoises will be able to walk freely without the iPads on them when they get freed.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why might the artist have chosen tortoises to carry the iPads?
    Answer: The artist probably chose tortoises to carry the iPads because tortoises have big bodies.

  • 20Hagen-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:31 p.m.

    I think its cool how the guy who made them picked the tortoise because its really slow.Also its cool how the ipad is a tracking device.

  • kelsit-Sch
    8/20/2014 - 01:53 p.m.

    I do think that is pretty ridiculous that they want to put ipads on their backs because that's not what they're for. If they wanted to do this they should have gotten fake ones. It also looks like its screwed into their shell and I think that would hurt.

    • wendil-sch
      2/29/2016 - 03:24 p.m.

      I agree with you because it would hurt if they screwed it onto the tortoises shell.

  • roannp-Sch
    8/20/2014 - 03:53 p.m.

    They might have chosen tortoises to carry them because they are slow, low to the ground, and their shell is the right size. I think its ok to have the tortoises carry ipads as long as they are closely monitored and properly taken care of.

  • chrissch-Sch
    8/20/2014 - 04:05 p.m.

    this is not cruelty no it is just art. it is not going to hurt it so it is ok. it would be if it was hurt it

  • SamanthaR-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    I don't think that it is right for them to put something on the turtle that it would not have if it was in the wild.

  • SavannahSe-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 12:01 p.m.

    I think that they shouldn't have done that because tortoises don't have I pad's drilled in to their shell in the wild. It's not cool, artistic, or good for the tortoise. Who comes up with this stuff now a days?? I don't like it at all.

  • JanelG-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    I believe the artist chose tortoises to carry the iPads because they move slow and can get a lot of steady footage. I don't like the fact that they have mounted the iPads on their backs, but as long as the tortoises aren't in pain, I'll be fine.

  • BaileyW-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 12:04 p.m.

    I think that the exhibit should be closed. The tortoise can feel when the shell is barely cracked yet alone drilled through. Also the tortoise might tip over have more vertical weight.

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