08/17/12 Slaughtering a Hen on Stage in the Play "Danton's Death"

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Veterinary inspection Dubrovnik
Vukovarska 16
20000 Dubrovnik

August 17, 2012

Subject: Slaughtering a hen on stage in the play "Danton's Death"

Dear Sir or Madam,

We received information that the play "Danton's Death," directed by Oliver Frljic, which will be performed as part of Dubrovnik Summer Festival, will include a slaughter of a hen.

Even though the play is set during the French Revolution, the symbolism of the guillotine can be performed in many other ways. Artistic license does not and should not give one permission to slaughter animals with the aim of getting publicity. At their disposal, directors and actors have infinite possibilities of artistic expression which come from their creativity and art, instead of the abuse and killing of an animal who cannot defend herself and has not chosen to participate in the play.

Killing and using animals for entertainment, besides being unethical, is also illegal. The Animal Protection Act of the Republic of Croatia states that it is forbidden to "use animals in circuses and other shows, film and television productions, advertisements, exhibitions or competitions in which animals are forced to behave unnaturally, or are subject to pain, suffering, injury or fear" (Article 4, paragraph 2, item 11).

The legal method for killing an animal is detailed in Article 9 of the Act and it in no way allows the slaughter of an animal on stage for the purpose of so-called art. The article stipulates that killing an animal can "only be carried out by a veterinarian or qualified veterinary technician under the supervision of a veterinarian" with a few exceptions, which do not include killing animals on stage.

Slaughting a hen for a play is also considered illegal according to the Penal Code of the Republic of Croatia. The Penal Code states that "Whoever severely maltreats an animal or exposes it to unnecessary sufferance or causes it unnecessary pain or exposes it to suffering by giving vent to base instincts shall be punished by a fine of up to one hundred and fifty daily incomes or by imprisonment not exceeding six months" (Article 260, paragraph 1). Additionally, slaughting of a hen for a public proformance violates Article 30 of the Public Law and Order Act, which states that it is illegal to abuse animals in a public place.

Considering the aforementioned evidence, as well as the fact that the play will begin on August 20, 2012, and will be performed until August 24, 2012, we appeal to you that you react quickly in accordance with your powers to prevent slaughtering of animals on stage.

Publicly slaughtering animals is ethically and legally inadmissible, and no art can be nor should be justification. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival has the reputation of being the cultural event of the year throughout Croatia and Europe. If slaughtering animals on stage is allowed, it will be a permanent stain on the reputation of the City.

In the City of Zagreb a similar play took place several years ago that included slaughtering of a hen, but the production was stopped, and organizers were sanctioned. We believe that the City of Dubrovnik is equally responsible to its citizens and guests and that it should not allow slaughter in the name of art.

We request that you notify us on the taken measures, on which we will inform the public.

Sincerely yours,

Alen Crncan
Coordinator of Animal Friends Croatia

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