An artists’ event at the Jerwood Gallery has been postponed because a resident claimed it would cause ‘suffering’ to animals.
The venue was due to hold the live animal drawing sessions next month, which were organised by Wild Life Drawing.
But David Lacey, of Plynlimmon Road, said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ when he learned of the event and called for people to boycott the Jerwood.
He added birds of prey would be ‘exposed to bright lights and transported round in a back of a van to get them to the gallery and back’ for the ‘entertainment of customers’.
Mr Lacey said: “We should not allow any animal to suffer in Hastings.”
Jennie Webber, from Wild Life Drawing, said: “I’m afraid this resident is making misinformed and untrue statements without seeking any information from Wild Life Drawing in the first instance. Our primary aim is to inspire appreciation and understanding for animals through creativity and to raise awareness of conservation issues around the globe. Wild Life Drawing works only with the finest animal sanctuaries, charities and organisations to put on these events.
“Over the past years I have spent a lot of time building up a small selected network of animal handlers who I know and fully trust to care for their animals to the highest possible standard. All the animals that attend the classes are well used to humans, travelling and different environments. All the venues for the classes are thoroughly checked out before being used for any class. There is no harsh lighting or crowds and the events are calm and quiet.
“The welfare of the animals is my highest priority.
“I have run many charity classes where some or all of the profits have been donated to charities such as the RSPB (Bempton Cliffs), Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the Bat Conservation Trust, Farms not Factories and the London Wildlife Trust.
“I have been working closely with the team at Jerwood and we have since decided to postpone the event, for no other reason than for the attendees to avoid the misguided animosity this event has attracted. Over the last two years, we have had thousands of attendees to a variety of classes and received not one complaint about the way the classes are run.”
A spokeswoman for the Jerwood Gallery confirmed the event was postponed.
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