Aspen Art Museum removes iPad-wearing tortoises from exhibit

· Aug. 26, 2014, 5:55 pm
Photo: Tortoise's mounted with iPads at Aspen Art Museum(Photo: Courtesy of Billy Farrell)
Artist Cai Guo-Qiang's "Moving Ghost Town" exhibition, which opened at the new Aspen Art Museum on August 9, featured tortoises with iPads mounted to their shells.
The exhibit by a New York artist featured three African Sulcata tortoises with iPads mounted on their backs roaming through the museum.
Multiple petitions against the exhibit received thousands of online signatures, including 12,000 on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity. 
“The tortoises deserved better than a life of exploitation and cruelty,” Collette Adkins Giese said in a statement. She's a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity and attorney dedicated to conserving reptiles and amphibians. “This is a victory for the tortoises and for all the people who spoke out against their cavalier mistreatment.”
But the decision to send the tortoises to a warmer climate had to do "with cold weather and not public pushback," said a statement from longtime Aspen resident Lisbeth Odén who had lead the charge against the exhibit.
"The tortoises have won and they are now on their way to a tortoise sanctuary where they can live out the reminder of their lives in peace," Odén says.
Local veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said she recommended sending the tortoises to warmer climes. 
“I have worked with the staff from the Aspen Art Museum since the initial planning phase of the Cai Guo-Qiang project. Without question, the welfare of the tortoises has been the highest priority throughout every stage of this exhibition,” Kremzier said in a statement.

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