Banksy takes cuddly farmyard toys to the New York slaughterhouse

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The artist's latest New York artwork, featuring screaming toy animals, is a comment on the 'casual cruelty of the food industry'

The British graffiti artist Banksy has unleashed a disturbing delivery truck on the streets of New York City, sending cuddly farmyard animals to the slaughterhouse.

Appropriately enough, the truck is currently touring the meatpacking district before moving on to the rest of the city.

How long the artwork - titled 'Sirens of the Lambs' - will last, however, is anyone's guess, given that Banksy's previous installations in his month-long New York residency have been defaced by rival graffiti artists, painted over and even hijacked by opportunistic locals looking to charge visitors for taking photos.

The animals' faces look adorable, but the truck emits a loud screaming noise that indicates the creatures are in distress. According to an audio guide on Banksy's website, the animals' heads are controlled by a team of mime artists inside the vehicle.

The guide jokes: "This is a piece of sculpture art, and I know what you're thinking: isn't it a bit… subtle."

Banksy, it says, is either, "making some sort of comment on the casual cruelty of the food industry" or forging "an attempt at something vague and pretentious about the loss of childhood innocence".

The guide continues: "The truck contains over 60 cuddly soft toys on the road to a swift death. However, in order to bring them to life, four professional puppeteers are required, strapped into bucket seats, dressed entirely in black lycra, pulling on an array of levers with each limb and given only one toilet break a day - proving that the only sentient beings held in lower esteem than livestock are mime artists."

It also offers a possible explanation as to why Banksy created the truck, saying: "From what we know of Banksy he spent time working in a butcher's shop as a youth, where he was in charge of mincing beef, an experience that seems to have resonated with him in later life."

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