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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  • EmmalyR-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 12:05 p.m.

    I would have never thought that would be possible. I think that it might be okay to do as long as the vet approves and checks in like the article says but if there was nobody checking in on them or anything like that I would say it would be animal abuse. I still don't see how someone came up with that idea.

  • StiverK-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 03:00 p.m.

    After reading it I still didn't get why the mounted a iPad to their shell. -_- What kind of museum is this? imagine if someone just picked you up and stuck an iPad on your back.

  • abbehh
    8/24/2014 - 05:49 p.m.

    This is a strange way to show something off. Tortoises carrying IPads on their backs? In a way, I see where the activists are saying it's animal abuse, but there really isn't any harm done just yet.. For example their is a pro and con of this situation for instance; A pro would be the tortoises are not harmed just yet. It hasn't harmed them in any kind of way. But there are people 'protesting or rejecting' this idea and that's not good.

  • claudiamoya
    8/30/2014 - 07:35 p.m.

    I disagree with this, because I cannot understand why people in charge of Colorado art museum did it. I know the word art is difficult to define because all people have different interpretation of what art is, but I do not believe this could be art, I think it is abuse against defenseless animals, despiste they rescued those tortoises this is not a reason to do this. I am not a specialist in art or something like that but I consider there are more and better ways to try impress people but in a good way in which animals o living creatures suffers consequences. so I agree with "These creatures were not designed to carry 2-pound iPads," said by Lisabeth Oden.

  • trowelknight
    9/08/2014 - 02:16 p.m.

    There is a HUGE problem with this. The i-pads are bolted into their shells. First of all, its disrespectful, and secondly, a turtle's shell is part of their body and nervous system so they can feel it as the bolts are drilled into their fragile body so really, the damage has already been done.

  • victoria579ying
    9/12/2014 - 11:43 a.m.

    i think that that is animal abbuse to drill nail on to tortises backs and put i pads on it its not like anyone is ever gonna use that.

  • pennyw-Bla
    9/12/2014 - 05:27 p.m.

    I think they used tortoises because they move slow. I think it is bad for them to stay there because they have to wear 2 pound I Pads on their backs.

  • 22Jenna-May
    9/15/2014 - 02:18 p.m.

    That is so mean to do to a turtle seriously if u want a i pad u get one and dont poke holes in there shells that is so so mean.

  • 17Blake-May
    9/15/2014 - 04:52 p.m.

    i think its art cruelty because people are calling that art yet its just a turtle from a screen with a ipad in its hand but i still wonder how valueable it is and how much somebody would take that for because all it is'' is a picture of a turtle with an ipad in his hand from a tv sreen thats very interesting they would make this article a question because its preaty obious that its a art cruelty because there syain thats its art when all it is '' is a picture from the tv and i also want to know why they would put that in an art mueseum and put for sale if there sayin its pretty valueable and would be lots of money some day if it would to be mine i would keep it tell i was 90 and then i would take it to the pawn shop or something so it will be passed on andon through generations and they pass it down and down and down and so on then i think it would be lots of of money if people still pass it through genearations which are billions of genarations and then through archearations which are trillionths of genearations and then if you want to go on it could possiblie go through thrilliarations wich are catrillionths of archearations and then so on through the particles of earth which for a fact i know all of them well good article but i think you just larned something by a fith grader but dont worry everybody learns someting every day thats how i learned all of the particles of genarations i still think this article was preaty to visualize and to awnser good job though

  • emmapad5
    9/23/2014 - 10:47 p.m.

    I do not agree that animals should be used and they're physical appearance shouldn't be tamped with and called as art. The animal it's self is beautiful and slow moving and long living while the iPad is fast pace and dies quickly. The turtles are alive and actually exist while the iPad is technology with out life and is made of pixels, showing a town that is deserted and doesn't not really exist in that museum.

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