Some Cambridge University students lost their appetite over a 17th-century oil painting that hung in the dining room of the school — and now the museum that loaned it out, as well as PETA, are commenting.
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The painting by Flemish artist Frans Snyders, called “The Fowl Market,” depicts a butcher standing among several dead animal carcasses and seeming to prepare a series of fowl to eat while a dog begs to get into the shop.
After reported complaints from vegetarian and vegan students, it was removed from the Hughes Hall dining room last month.
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The controversial painting was on loan from the university’s Fitzwilliam Museum, where it has since been returned and placed on display as part of the Feast & Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500-1800 exhibit.
“While perhaps incredible – and indeed, offensive – to modern eyes, all of these birds and beasts were available for consumption by wealthy diners across early modern Europe, as made evident in Frans Snyders’ gigantic workshop copy of The Fowl Market,” the Fitzwilliam said to Fox News in a statement.
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However, the history of the artwork did little to soothe the stomachs of plant-based students, who reportedly complained about the subject matter and the graphic depiction of dead animals.
“Some diners felt unable to eat because it was on the wall. People who don’t eat meat found it slightly repulsive. They asked for it to come down,” a spokesperson for the museum told The Telegraph.
The exhibition curators agreed to remove the painting, citing “contemporary concerns about our relationship with food.”
“Many people are turning to vegetarianism and veganism as a political choice as much as a dietary one, as we rethink our relationship with animals and their treatment in an industrialized world,” a spokesperson for the museum told Fox News.
PETA found the move unsurprising, they shared in a statement to Fox News.
“Today’s young people are going vegan in droves, so PETA is not surprised that Cambridge University, one of PETA U.K.’s “Top Vegan-Friendly Universities,” has students who care about animal welfare and don’t want to see carcasses on their plates — or their walls,” the statement read.
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The exhibit – which also features a table set up displaying the “wealth, status and power with the variety and rareness of the dishes,” which included “a plethora of game, fish, fruit and vegetables, including elaborate pies, often gilded, and crowned with high status hunted birds such as swans, pheasants, partridges, and peacocks” – was very well received by visitors, the museum shared.