Monday, September 18, 2006

Difficult legal question of the day

Here's a question I can honestly say I've never had to answer: is it legal, in California, to paint a live elephant to look like pink wallpaper?

And after reading this story in The Guardian, about the latest from the British artist known as Banksy, I still don't know the answer. On the one hand, the Los Angeles Animal Services Department (ASD) granted a permit allowing the elephant to appear in Banksy's first exhibition in the U.S. But the head of the ASD is quoted as saying the paint that was originally used was "unsafe, and even illegal," leading him to order that a child-safe face paint be used instead. He goes on to say, though, that his agency wanted to have the permits revoked in their entirety, "but to do so may have taken five days, by which time the exhibition would be over." In any event, be on notice that "permits will not be issued for such frivolous abuse of animals in the future," at least not in Los Angeles.

Banksy's Wikipedia page is here. You can see The Elephant in the Room here.