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NY Daily News covers the Art Benefit

Saturday, May 12, 2007

amd_pirarocartoonHelp stop abuse – buy some art

By Amy Sacks
Daily News Writer

“Abject animal cruelty is widely unknown,” said Piraro, a passionate animal rights activist whose message to everyone is simply, “how easy it is to avoid it.”

The standup comic, political satirist and mastermind behind the Bizarro comic strip, lives in Brooklyn with wife Ashley Lou Smith, and two cats, Chloe and Jemimah, a mother/daughter duo rescued from the streets.

The couple’s Clinton Hill apartment also serves as a temporary stomping ground for chickens, roosters and other abandoned animals, which they help place through an underground railroad in new homes or sanctuaries.

It wasn’t always that way. Growing up, Piraro had a compassion for cats and dogs, but it wasn’t until five years ago, however, that Ashley’s work in animal activism finally hit home.

“I decided I’m not going to be responsible for this cruelty anymore,” Piraro said. He soon became a vegan animal rights activist and hit the road, spreading the word about the inhumane treatment of animals in factory farm production and industrialized agribusiness.

Next Saturday, Piraro will be among dozens of famous and not-so-famous illustrators, sculptors, photographers and cartoonists, including Gary Trudeau, that have donated their artwork in a silent auction to raise money for abused and abandoned farm animals.

The May 19 event, a vegan fare fete, will be held at the Jivamukti Yoga studio in Greenwich Village, to benefit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

The 23-acre farm, located in the Catskill Mountains, is home to a menagerie of animals, including chickens, roosters, pigs, goats, sheep, turkeys, and veal farm steer, most of which were rescued from the abuses of factory farms, slaughterhouses, and stockyards.

Many of the residents, like Dylan the runaway calf; Ashton, a lamb who escaped a Queens slaughterhouse, and Hazel, a chicken found covered in wax in Central Park are, among others, straight from the streets of New York City.

Manhattan-based artist J.T. Yost, who paints whimsical pet portraits (www.jtyost.com), will donate a linoleum cut-block portrait of Olivia, a goat found in Manhattan last year, with a “For Sale” sign painted on her side. Yost, whose works reflect his passion for animals, was inspired by Olivia’s beauty on a recent trip to the farm.

Read the original article.

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