The dyed birds fly around a city square in Italy.
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©Tony Gentile/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo
Painted Pigeons
Is it right for artists to capture and paint live animals in the name of art?

Birds in two European cities have unwittingly become part of an artwork. A pair of artists installed a cage-like device on a rooftop in Copenhagen, Denmark, and later in Venice, Italy. When pigeons fly inside, a conveyor belt carries them through the contraption. It sprays the birds with non-toxic dye that fades over time. The machine then releases the tropical-looking pigeons back into their urban habitats. Some people see the project as a fascinating public artwork. But critics say that trapping and dyeing the birds is a form of animal abuse.

Artists Julius von Bismarck and Julian Charrière, both based in Berlin, Germany, are the team behind the pigeon-painting work. They argue that their device does not harm the pigeons.

People often ignore flocks of pigeons, and the artists hope their brilliantly colored birds will change the way people see and interact with the animals. Many people applaud the artists for creating a new form of street art (visual art in a public location) that uses colorful, living sculptures and entire cities as canvases. The avian-airbrushing apparatus and photographs of the colorful birds were later displayed in a gallery.

This isn’t the first time artists have used animals in their installations. The street artist Banksy painted a live elephant in 2006, for example, which angered animal-rights activists. People thought it was unfair to treat a living creature as an object. They worried that forcing the animal to take part in the artwork caused it stress and was inhumane.

What do you think? Is it ethical to use living creatures in art?

CRAFT AN ARGUMENT
1. What arguments do people make in support of Von Bismarck and Charrière’s artwork?
2. Why do some people consider artworks like this one unethical?
3. Use evidence from the text and your own opinions to explain why animals should or should not be used in artworks.


If the pigment is actually non toxic and the birds are treated with respect and gentle understanding, I'm not opposed to painting them. But how do you know what the birds are feeling. Do they care? If people treat the birds better when they are colorfully painted the birds benefit from the experience. They may be fed more and not chased away. I actually think this is an interesting and creative idea by the artists. I think it would be fun to see these birds in these colors.
Posted by: Maky Z. | April 17, 2017 at 5:47 PM
I think that they should paint Pigeon because they are very interesting to a lot of people.
Posted by: Lily F. | May 4, 2017 at 8:28 PM
There is a difference between coloring an animal with dies that fade over time, and abusing them. Although no one can say for sure how the pigeons are feeling when they are painted, you can not say that the pigeons are being harmed. Actually from the picture above you can see that people are feeding the colored pigeon and taking pictures of it. How can the pigeon that has been painted be considered abused if it is benefiting this much from the aftermath.
Posted by: Eli W. | May 4, 2017 at 8:29 PM
I think that its pretty interesting how they trap the pigeons and give them a new and improved look ;] If I was a pigeon i would want to be dyed.
Posted by: Dawson T. | May 4, 2017 at 8:29 PM
Well the way I see it, it's ok as long as they are treating the creatures with respect and care. Like Maky Z said, they most likely benefit from it so why is that bad? They get fed more probably and people get to see their beauty so it's a win win for humans and birds. Plus, they said the dye will fade. Also the dye might attract mates (I am not a bird expert though).
Posted by: Abigail M. | May 4, 2017 at 8:29 PM
I think it is cool how they got the pigon on her head right on time.I also think the pigon is very hungy.This is a very funny photo
Posted by: emma h. | May 4, 2017 at 8:30 PM
i think this photo is a very funny and good photo. It is cool how the piegon landed on that persons head instead of eating the food in tghe other persons.
Posted by: madison c. | May 4, 2017 at 8:30 PM
I thank that hey are making a big deal and the painting of the elephant.So people thank that is unethical because they just want to get people follow him or her on what they thank.
Posted by: Jasper j. | May 4, 2017 at 8:30 PM
I do not think it is that bad of any idea. It is non toxic so it is not doing any harm to the birds and it may be helping the bird. People may want picture with the birds so they feed them so they will stay still. In my opinion this is perfectly safe.
Posted by: Serenity P. | May 4, 2017 at 8:30 PM
Only a few people support Von Bismarck and Charrière’s artwork, because as it states in the artical,"People often ignore flocks of pigeons, and the artists hope their brilliantly colored birds will change the way people see and interact with the animals." This will give the animals a chance to be noticed and possibly help with the fact of people hitting them because they blend too well in the city. I for one support this art idea because i said a minute ago it helps the animals too get noticed. These birds have been a part of the city for a very long time and no one really notices them. I think that what they are doing will help people to notice these birds.
Posted by: Kayleigh D. | May 4, 2017 at 8:31 PM
I like how it describes the birds I think its because its not showing any harm its helping them.
Posted by: Taylin W. | May 4, 2017 at 8:31 PM
Some people support Von Bismarck and Charrière’s artwork, because as it states in the artical, "People often ignore flocks of pigeons, and the artists hope their brilliantly colored birds will change the way people see and interact with the animals." This gives the animals a chance to get noticed but, it still seems dangerous even if they say its not. Some people see this artwork as 'Unethical' because they've always been a part of the booming citys. They dont deserve to be painted. My opinion is that you shouldnt paint the animals. I chose this side of the argument because, the paint they are putting on the birds can contain harmful chemicals that could kill them.
Posted by: Leila (. | May 4, 2017 at 8:32 PM
I think that they need to stop painting these dang birds becuse the birds live just like us and don you want some one painting you NO!!!
Posted by: Skylar M. | May 4, 2017 at 8:32 PM
I do not think it is wrong to paint the pigeons as long as the paint does not effect their health.
Posted by: Connor M. | May 15, 2017 at 2:45 PM
I feel like it is okay for artists to capture and paint live animals in the name of art. As long a they release them as soon as they are done painting them and as long as the artists are not hurting the birds in any way. Also as long as the artists take the time to wash all the harsh chemicals off of the birds.
Posted by: Morgan J. | May 15, 2017 at 2:45 PM
No, it is not okay to paint on these birds. Even if you check for harsh chemicals, it's still not okay. How would the birds feel? Do artist even care? Just like what Skylar M. said, they live just like us, and we don't want to be painted on..well..that's if you want to be painted on but that's not like most people, but you can do you if that's what you want to do. But seriously, it's not okay to paint on living things that didn't ask for it.
Posted by: Gwyneth P. | May 15, 2017 at 2:49 PM
The pigeons that are dyed are cool looking, but I think you should just leave the animals be. I for one wouldn't want to be taken and got sprayed with paint. We should leave these animals be because they are born a certain color for a reason. And these animals are not something we should paint, or treat as objects, but treat them with respect. They have as much right to be on this earth as we do.
Posted by: Raven S. | May 15, 2017 at 2:49 PM
I am not totally against the painted bird. I think its pretty cool, but I don't think birds are the best canvas. The elephant was pretty cool though. What if someone painted and elephant on an elephant on an elephant on the actual elephant!?!
Posted by: Julia S. | May 15, 2017 at 2:50 PM
I believe that as long as the birds are not harmed, it is okay. You could make people more aware of their surroundings so nobody does anything they're going to regret. Also, it is a interesting art movement. In addition to that, if you make a big deal about the animals and do all sorts of rituals and marches, they WILL be stressed out.
Posted by: Breana M. | May 15, 2017 at 2:51 PM
Dying the birds with bright color might be cool and pretty to the people, but not for the animals themselves. Even if it is not harming the animals, dyeing animals with paint is unfair to them. It is not in our right to do these to animals who also have a life in this world like we do. You have to get in the mind of these animals to see how they would feel about this. Maybe they don't want to be bothered by us humans and instead we our dyeing the color to give them more attention.
Posted by: Stephanie C. | May 15, 2017 at 2:53 PM
As long as the dye is non-toxic I would feel rather confident that the paint wouldn't harm the birds at all,but in my opinion it's not the dye that is the problem it's what the artists are using to capture the birds for a short period of time.Yes,we know it's a contraption but do we know if the contraption is harmful? I think that with further investigation on what they are using to capture the birds .I would feel more supportive in the issue of how the dye is not harming the birds and neither is the contraption, but there is not enough info to come to that conclusion.
Posted by: Holley L. | May 15, 2017 at 2:54 PM
I believe that it is not right.People should see the actual photo rather than give this fake coloring.But people have there beliefs and opinion on the subject.I have to admit it looks different then what you would regularly see in a photo.It kinda depends on what your coloring.As long as they don't go too far with it like put this on every bird that roamed the city witch are a lot.But like I said before, its my opinion.And not everyone has the same one. Specially this one.
Posted by: Zachariah M. | May 15, 2017 at 2:55 PM
I think it is interesting to see different colored pigeons. It can also be very dangerous and mean to the birds. this picture is very funny. It looks like they planned the photo because they had the pigeon land on her head right on time for the picture
Posted by: Ashley F. | May 15, 2017 at 2:55 PM
I think we should paint birds because people would love to see paints of pretty birds . Also as you can sometimes they give the bird food so they can stay still that way the birds wouldn't die. As long as they don't do anything bad to the bird is a wonderful idea to turn birds into art .
Posted by: Selena R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:01 PM
Well what i think i agree because in the pasage it said that alot of people ignore flocks of birds well by painting this bird people realised how inportant birds are dont get mad at me its just my opinion:] YOLO.
Posted by: Chris C. | May 15, 2017 at 3:03 PM
I think they should stop painting the pigeons because they need to be realistic instead of FAKE!!!!!! However i do see why they do it, BUT its WRONG!!!!
Posted by: ROBERTO R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:03 PM
I think that the birds should not be painted. There is no way of telling how they feel when they are painted so there is no guarantee that they are fine with what's happening to them. Also if the paint accidentally gets in the eye or eyes of a bird, it would most likely hurt them and might damage their vision. If people were extremely careful not to hurt the pigeons in the process of painting them, and we were sure that the birds felt fine when they were painted, then I would be fine with this. But since we don't know how the birds feel, I am against this.
Posted by: Mason R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:04 PM
I think that they need to stop painting the birds...Mostly b/c if you were a bird you wouldn't want to be painted......MEOW
Posted by: Addie B. | May 15, 2017 at 3:04 PM
I think its pretty cool how they use birds for art work. People might notice the birds and feed them. Mostly people just walk by and pay no attention to them but when they are colored people want to take pictures so they feed them. As long as the dye is non toxic and not harming the birds than i am fine with it. But if they are getting hurt than no do not harm the birds. I think everyone should be fair and treat the birds with respect.
Posted by: Grace S. | May 15, 2017 at 3:05 PM
These birds are cute painted and I think that we need to paint all the birds in the world
Posted by: gorge w. | May 15, 2017 at 3:05 PM
Birds scare me but now that they are painted they look cool I want one
Posted by: pablo b. | May 15, 2017 at 3:05 PM
I believe that artists should not paint birds or any animal in the name of art. Why? Because I know that every one should just endure the beauty of it's natural appearance. Some may say, that painting birds and other animals look, "Cool when they are painted!" but really it is just wasting supplies on something that is already beautiful. So, in conclusion I believe that you just need to leave this real, interesting,born art alone.
Posted by: Stormy G. | May 15, 2017 at 3:09 PM
I just think that is really dumb because pigeons deserve to be their self that should be called harming nature
Posted by: keagan m. | May 15, 2017 at 3:09 PM
I think that they should not be painting the birds because i don't think that we would like it if we were the animals and they were painting us. I think the birds look fine just the way they look they don't need to be painted to look good because they look good the way they are.
Posted by: David W. | May 15, 2017 at 3:10 PM
i think its a great idea but at the same time it like they are abusing the animals because they are forcing them.
Posted by: edgar m. | May 15, 2017 at 3:12 PM
THEY SHOULD KEEP PAINTING BIRDS BECAUSE THEY ARE A WONDERFUL PIECE OF ART AND THEY SHOULD BE SHOWED OFF JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ANIMAL THAT IS PAINTED
Posted by: RUBY C. | May 15, 2017 at 3:12 PM
I have nothing against the painting of animals as long as they are not hurt, put in danger, traumatized or overly stressed. So long as that criteria is achieved, I suppose this act is fairly ethical.
Posted by: Barack. O. | May 15, 2017 at 3:12 PM
I say people should't paint birds or even any animal. They shouldn't do this because its animals abuse because first of all people trap the animals. Second of all they paint animals which they shouldn't do.
Posted by: I.H . | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
I think it's nice but then again it's not that nice to living creature.
Posted by: karen .. | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
I think that the pigeons should be used for art becuase, it is what helps the artist express their image or dream
Posted by: lt . | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
I think they shouldnt because knowing animals they might end up getting allergic and migt die or do anything unusual as the animal and they might get a disease or something
Posted by: AM . | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
i think that people could be able to use animals to fulfill their art desires, but they have to treat them with care and use paint that wears off and causes no harm.
Posted by: Anthony C. | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
Animals should not be used as art subjects. They have their natural color for a specific reason and if you make them bright, it will make it easier for predators to spot them. The article states that this can stress them out, which can lead to their death even though then paint isn't harmful.
Posted by: Karen R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
Animals should be used in artworks but not in a bad way. Use the animals nicely and treat them right in paintings
Posted by: Jessica R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:13 PM
I think that they are bringing the birds to life so they can so how they are and how they act.
Posted by: s.d . | May 15, 2017 at 3:14 PM
i think they should be able to express feeling and emotion about these animals and i support the artist painting and creating beautiful art with these birds
Posted by: StephanyO. . | May 15, 2017 at 3:15 PM
I agree and disagree because I think it can be good use to show of your artistic skills and its a good way to use the environment. But I also think that its animal abuse because they might be treating the animals bad. I also think its a good way to show of the beauty in a living organism.
Posted by: Adriana R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:15 PM
In my opinion, I think that the pigeons should be painted. Like they explained, they said that the chemical they use to dye them, doesn't hurt them. It doesn't have harmful chemicals. It can help people realize that we need animals as much as they need us. People don't notice some animals and if Julius von Bismarck and Julian Charriere figured out a way that we can help animals then we should give them the support they need. We can also appreciate the beauty of the painted pigeons.
Posted by: Tabita C. | May 15, 2017 at 3:21 PM
I believe the pigeons should be painted I think i's a good idea. Why? Because pigeons aren't really animals that are very interesting to look at at with their nice bright colors they will be much more beautiful.
Posted by: Mayra F. | May 15, 2017 at 3:21 PM
Animals should use for artwork because we can see how they are and they look and the animals are.
Posted by: Angel C. | May 15, 2017 at 3:21 PM
I think it was very cool how they got the pigeon on her head in the right time , it also explain in the picture that he was just hungry and not trying to harm no one. This was a very cool picture
Posted by: Celeste R. | May 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM
I think they should use the pigeons for art but check the machine if it has any chemicals that could kill the pigeons if not then they should use it
Posted by: Noe Z. | May 16, 2017 at 4:04 PM
I like how they thought outside the box and they tried something different.
Posted by: Aralyn R. | May 16, 2017 at 4:04 PM
I do not think it is wrong to paint the birds as long as it does not effect their health.
Posted by: David C. | May 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM
I think the pigeons should not be in use to be colored even if the artist tries to express his work in art.
Posted by: Roberto V. | May 16, 2017 at 4:06 PM
I honestly think that yes this is very cool and nice making things pop a bit more but even though it does not have any harmful chemicals the have a bit more of a chance to die or get shot at from a hunter or something who has not read this certain article or anything related to this what so ever and having no an underground market over this and soon realizing it was only paint its a waste. People think it's right and wrong but I have no preference exactly this is kinda still not right about this at all.
Posted by: Dariana V. | May 16, 2017 at 4:06 PM
I think this is okay because they don't dye it by hand so they are not physically touching only the machine.
Posted by: Angel. T. | May 16, 2017 at 4:09 PM
I don't think painting these birds is a very good idea because a bird could go out to the wild and a hunter might go around thinking it's a special bird and hunt it for its feathers
Posted by: Esteban j. | May 16, 2017 at 4:09 PM
No, I don't think it's okay to use live animals for people's artwork. The animals should be out in the wild.
Posted by: Zoaie S. | May 16, 2017 at 4:09 PM
I thinks this is kind of cool because people won't just walk away from a pidgin they will look at it as interesting.
Posted by: Michael A. | May 16, 2017 at 4:09 PM
No, I don't think it's okay to use live animals, I doubt they like sitting sitting still for a painting.
Posted by: Nicole V. | May 16, 2017 at 4:09 PM
I think that painting the pigeons is cool, but how do we know the pigeon wants to be painted on? Painting an animal, I don't see it as animal abuse, actually I also think it's a good idea to paint the pigeons. They look very pretty with their tropical colors and it's very cool that's it's live art.
Posted by: Leilani A. | May 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM
I think it is not alright because maybe the paint may have something bad and maybe hurt the animals by putting paint.
Posted by: Linda L. | May 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM
I think that the birds look amazing in different colors.
Posted by: Isai . | May 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM
Animals should be use for art because it looks more creative and not simple
Posted by: Alexandra Z. | May 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM
I think it is not alright because maybe the paint may have something bad and maybe hurt the animals by putting paint.
Posted by: Linda L. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I agree and disagree because it makes the pigeons more interesting and vibrant but we don't know how the pigeons feel and could harm them.
Posted by: Hailey G. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I think it is fine to paint he animals because some people don't pay attention to them
Posted by: Jenuve M. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I think that it is wrong to use animals as art wor, because the paint can harm their eyes.
Posted by: Rayvin C. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I think that they shouldn't paint pigeons because they can attract people and that people may kill that pigeon.
Posted by: Brenda L. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I think that it is very cool how they made a machine to dyeing birds in art!!
Posted by: Justin A. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
I think it's cool how they trap the pigeons. Pigeons are unique birds.
Posted by: Mariana T. | May 16, 2017 at 4:11 PM
My opinion is that they can paint animals but not if there in a picture where they are hurting the animal.
Posted by: Priscila V. | May 16, 2017 at 4:12 PM
Yes because it is not harming the animals they are still going to be free and in the wild.
Posted by: Juanz . | May 16, 2017 at 4:12 PM
I think that painting the animals isn't right because animals are born with a natural color and I think that their natural colors are better than people painting the animals.
Posted by: Marcela G. | May 16, 2017 at 4:19 PM
Pigeons don't get that much attention. Like the article stated, people ignore flocks of pigeons daily, if the birds were painted, for example, it would be much more fun to look at the birds. The paint isn't toxic or harmful to the birds, so I think it's ok.
Posted by: Zitlaly R. | May 16, 2017 at 4:23 PM
I think it is absolutely fine for the artists to color the pigeons. The dye is non-toxic and does not harm them at all. Even if the pigeons don't like it the dye goes away over time. In no way do I think they are abusing the pigeons. In the elephants case it could've stoped the painter if it really didn't like it. Elephants are pretty powerful creatures and the ancient Indians used to do it with chalk.
Posted by: Julian L. | May 16, 2017 at 4:23 PM
In my opinion...it could go both ways. Yes,it is animal abuse to dye animals,but it is also a beautiful sight so a bird u see every day a different color and a part of art work.
Posted by: Marissa G. | May 16, 2017 at 4:24 PM
I think that they shouldn't do that because maybe it can make the world have less pigeons because maybe it can harm the animal in there skin and we don't know what the paint contains in it.
Posted by: Michelle M. | May 16, 2017 at 4:25 PM
I think using pigeons as a form of art is not Right because they harm birds and they paint them even though the paint is non-toxic they can still harm them
Posted by: Alondra m. | May 16, 2017 at 4:27 PM
I think that people are making fun of animals by paining it. For example what if animals painted you for art.
Posted by: Jose R. | May 16, 2017 at 4:27 PM
In my opinion I think it is harmful to introduce a Iiving animal to Art because we don't know if it abusive to them
Posted by: Evelyn C. | May 16, 2017 at 4:31 PM
I think it is fine and dandy people should do what they want
Posted by: Daniel J. | May 16, 2017 at 4:31 PM
They should find a way to let the pigeons choose if they want to be painted on.nThey are kind of forcing them to do it.
Posted by: AngelG . | May 16, 2017 at 4:31 PM
I think it's not right to paint pigeons and call it art. I agree with the critics because trapping pigeons and dyeing them is a from of animal abuse.
Posted by: Kamyla N. | May 16, 2017 at 4:33 PM
You shouldn't paint birds even though it looks cool you can paint on paper without painting birds if you get a bird and paint it and keep it in a cage its animal abuse.
Posted by: T.H . | May 16, 2017 at 4:33 PM

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