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Have you signed the petition against Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas yet? He's the Costa Rican artist whose latest big exhibition featured him tying up a starving dog "without food and water under the words 'Eres Lo Que Lees' - 'You Are What You Read' - made out of dog biscuits while he played the Sandinista anthem backwards and set 175 pieces of crack cocaine alight in a massive incense burner." Some reports say the dog starved to death during the display; the gallery director says that's not true. Either way, Vargas is not a popular man with animal lovers. By now, more than a million people have signed a petition (you can sign here, if you're so inclined) urging that he not be allowed to recreate the work, and the cause continues to draw media coverage and generate new outrage. But the artist calls his opponents hypocrites. His defense, and a video of the exhibit in question (which is pretty heartbreaking), after the jump.

The artist is reported to have created the work to pay tribute to Natividad Canda, a Nicaraguan man who was eaten by two Rottweiler dogs in San Jose, Costa Rica, on November 10, 2005.

In a statement to the Press, Mr Vargas said the important thing for him was the hypocrisy of people.

"An animal thus becomes the focus of attention when you put it in a place where white people go to see art, but not when they are on the street dying of hunger.

"The same happened to Natividad Canda, people were not (sympathetic) to him until the dogs ate him."

He also highlighted the fact that no one intervened to help the animal while it was on display.

[via Gulf Daily News]