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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 September, 2004, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Fur flies over cat-killing film
Animal rights activists were outraged by the students' actions
Animal rights activists have held a protest in Canada at the premiere of a documentary about three art students who videoed themselves killing a cat.

Demonstrators urged ticket-holders at the Toronto Film Festival to boycott Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat.

The documentary shows interviews with artists, police and activists - but not the animal's mutilation and death.

The three men taped the skinning and decapitation of a cat in 2001 and later pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

Director Zev Asher chose to show the court transcript of the text of their videotape throughout the documentary.

He told Reuters news agency that this was the best way to convey "the stark horror that these guys were involved in".


However animal rights activists say the film gives a platform to the cat killers.

"Shame on the international film festival for allowing this to go on," said Suzanne Lahaie of Freedom for Animals, a Toronto group.

Festival organisers declined to drop the documentary, saying it did not glorify the torture of animals.

Two scheduled screenings are going ahead, organisers said, despite the fact that a staff member was told by an anonymous phone caller that he would be skinned alive.

The students - Jesse Power, Anthony Wennekers and Matt Kaczorowski - said their intent was to make an anti-animal cruelty film, reasoning that skinning a cat would expose the slaughter of factory-reared animals.

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