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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Graffiti art show shut
Painted cow at Banksy exhibition
The animals were removed after becoming hot and distressed
A controversial exhibition by graffiti artist Banksy has been closed for "legal reasons", according to his website.

The show was shut after painted animals, which became hot and distressed, were taken back to their farm, a spokeswoman said.

Organisers did not want to go on without the main attractions - cows, sheep and pigs that attracted animal rights protestors - but there were actually no legal problems, she said.

Banksy is now considering taking the show on a national tour, the spokeswoman added.

The exhibition, called Turf War, was held in a disused garage in east London.

Religious images

It stayed open for one day after the animals were taken away - but it was decided to keep the doors shut on Monday, the final day.

Turf War also included a painting of the baby Jesus with a bomb strapped to his chest and Banksy's version of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker.

Banksy, from Bristol, real name Robin Banks, has been hailed as "Britain's most celebrated graffiti artist" and designed Blur's latest album cover.

Jamie Oliver at the Banksy launch party
Jamie Oliver was among the celebrities at the launch party on Thursday
Turf War included pigs painted in police colours, sheep painted in concentration camp stripes and a cow covered in images of Andy Warhol's face.

The animals were removed because the "severe heat and heavy petting" were "causing distress to the animals", a statement said.

Their removal had nothing to do with protests by animal welfare campaigners, organisers said.

The beasts were all show animals from Cheddar, Somerset, were used to being on public view, and the paint was animal-friendly, a spokeswoman said.

An inspector from the RSPCA approved the animals' conditions, the spokeswoman said.

And Hackney Borough Council said they were not happy about the show going ahead - but could do nothing to stop it.

Celebrity party

A demonstrator, Debbie Young, chained herself to railings surrounding a cow, in protest at what she saw as animal cruelty.

Stars including Jamie Oliver, Sara Cox and Jarvis Cocker turned up to the show's opening party on Thursday.

Banksy has turned down four requests to do adverts for Nike and his work is usually seen only on walls in cities across the world.

He has previously painted the Queen as a chimpanzee during her Golden Jubilee and sprayed "Mind the crap" on the steps of the Tate Britain before the Turner Prize ceremony.

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