Tell Tate Modern Not to Display Live Parrots
not exhibits. Yet the museum is planning to keep two macaws in a barren cage as
part of an installation in the new Switch House in London.
Huge crowds have been flocking to see Tate Modern's brand-new exhibition space, which opened on 17 June. But alongside the many groundbreaking artworks, one exhibit stood out for all the wrong reasons, by causing senseless suffering to animals: Hélio Oiticica's Tropicália, which featured two live parrots in a sterile cage.
The Tate has temporarily removed the parrots from the exhibit, apparently because of high visitor numbers. But if the museum truly cares about these animals' welfare, it should cancel any future plans to put them back on display.
Macaws are among the most intelligent birds on the planet. In the wild, they live in complex social groups, fly for miles every day and communicate with one another using distinctive dialects. Being kept in a barren cage – with no stimulation and nowhere to hide from noisy crowds of human visitors for hours on end – will cause them immense frustration and distress.
This exhibit also sends the unacceptable message that animals can be objectified and treated like props. Tate Modern says that it wants to "redefine the museum for the twenty first century". To realise that vision, it needs to put in place a policy against outdated live-animal displays as soon as possible.
Please send a quick message to Tate Modern's Director urging her not to display these parrots.