Policy on the use of animals in art

The CVPA acknowledges that having a policy on the use of animals in art is a positive step towards insuring that our students and faculty treat animals humanely, should there be involvement of animals in the creation of visual and performing arts.  Therefore, this “Use of Animals in Art” policy was developed by a faculty committee and approved by the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Ralph Blasting, on May 15, 2018.  

The following definitions are especially relevant to our policy:  The word animal is defined as “every living creature except a human being”; the word cruelty means “every act, omission, or neglect, whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted” (New York State Animal Cruelty Laws, N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 350, accessed May 8, 2018, at http://www.apainc.org/wp-content/uploads/New-York-Animal-Cruelty-Summary.pdf.

Except where noted otherwise, much of our policy is drawn directly from the standards and guidelines of the College Art Association, accessed May 8, 2018, at https://www.collegeart.org/standards-and-guidelines/guidelines/use-of-animals.

As an important regional center for the instruction, creation, exhibition, and performance of art, we believe art plays a vital role in human society and that artists must be allowed to explore a full range of expressive possibilities.  With that expression, however, comes responsibility when artists and others use animal subjects in the creative process.  The CVPA does not endorse any creative expression that results in physical or psychological pain, suffering, or distress to animal subjects, and it calls upon artists to examine with the greatest of care any practices that require the use of animals in art.  To perpetuate this ethical standard, artists/performers should consider the following issues and questions before engaging in any practice using live animals: 

•    Can you make the same point by replacing the animal?  By reducing the number of animals?  By refining the use of animals? 
•    Have you explored the institutional and national standards/guidelines for the use of animals in research, such as those produced by the National Science Foundation or by other professional organizations to which you belong? 
•    Have you done research on the biology of your animal subject to understand aspects of its physiognomy and experience?
•    Have you discussed any practices that may result in pain or discomfort for the animal subject with colleagues/peers, directors who may be responsible for the venues wherein your art may be shown or performed, and administrators such as the Dean of the CVPA?  Have you considered alternatives? 

Our animal use policy pertains to students, faculty, and guest artists at Fredonia.  Students and faculty should develop project ideas early enough to allow for serious consideration and notifications of appropriate personnel before the actual use of animals takes place.  This policy is to be included in full in all departmental handbooks.  Student projects which do not follow these considerations may result in grading penalties, at the discretion of the faculty member. 

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