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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Union slams robotic BSE artwork
Dr Dylan Evans
Dr Dylan Evans enjoys working with robotic artists
An artist being paid nearly 4,000 to create several robotic dogs which mimic the symptoms of BSE has been branded "insensitive" by a farming group.

France Cadet will programme the creations to splay their legs, shake, and keel over - as if they were suffering from mad cow disease.

She claims the artwork, which will go on display in Bristol, highlights the dangers of scientific progress.

The NFU said: "At best, it's very, very odd, at worst grossly insensitive."

The French artist, who will build and design the dogs at the University of the West of England, was also accused of attempting to gain publicity through shock value.

Two-headed dog

But Ian Johnson, of the National Farmers Union (NFU), said: "I would question the value of it in cultural terms and certainly for people who lived with the effects of BSE it's not something they want to be reminded of in this rather flippant way."

Ms Cadet's previous work has included a two-headed robotic dog called Schizodog and one with ears for wings on its back, called the FlyingPig.

She admitted that her last project, a cow-dog called Dolly, provoked more laughter than serious contemplation when it went on display.

But she added: "During my residency at University of the West of England, I am planning to make a whole pack of robotic cow-dogs that will appear to suffer from BSE in unison."

Ms Cadet, who will be the University's artist in residency for the next eight months, will be funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which awards grants for original artistic and research projects.

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