These powerful portraits of dogs minutes before being put down show the harsh realities facing many rescue centres every day

If you're thinking of getting a dog, consider your local shelter

Taiwanese photographer Yun-Fei Tou has created early 19th-century style portraits of stray dogs in their last hours before being put down in the hope of raising awareness of animal rights.

In some cases the pups are in good condition while others are in tragic shape due to neglect, but all share the same fate, a fate they are quite upsettingly all unaware of.

"These portraits are taken on the very day on which the dogs depicted are about to be put down or mercifully killed in public pounds run by governmental agencies in Taiwan," Yun-Fei Tou said.

"Utilizing the classic portrait style that originated in the early 19th century with the birth of photography as an art form, these photographs offer the viewer a chance to look attentively into a bleak future."

11:38am, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 29 Minutes

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(All pictures: Yun-Fei Tou)

05:01am, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 12.5 Hours

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10:00 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until euthanised: 1.4 Hours

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04:17am, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 13.2 Hours

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12:57pm, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 1.1 Hours

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10:54pm, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 1.2 Hours

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12:09pm, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 1.9 Hours

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03:17am, Taiwanese Public Shelter, Time until euthanised: 14.2 Hours

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The photographer also spoke out against the idea that animal rights are only for sentimental "animal lovers".

"The purpose of this project is to arouse people's awareness of animals rights," he said. "People should view animal rights as a moral issue rather than appealing to emotional affection. As Peter Singer wrote in his Animal Liberation, 'The portrayal of those who protest against cruelty to animals as sentimental, emotional "animal-lovers" has had the effect of excluding the entire issue of our treatment of nonhumans from serious political and moral discussion.'"

Though these images were taken in Taiwan, the message should ring out across the world.

"Far too many dogs suffer abuse and neglect in all corners of the world; these photographs were taken in Taiwan, but dogs like these are present in many other countries too," said Dee McIntosh, Battersea Dogs Home's Director of Communications.

"These powerful images illustrate the shocking mistreatment and neglect shown to animals we term ‘man’s best friend’.

"Dogs and cats arrive at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in many different conditions, some of which require urgent medical attention and staff and volunteers work tirelessly to give them the second chance they deserve in a loving home.

"Images like these from Taiwan, demand the answer to whether dogs really are man’s best friend, and show the harsh realities facing many rescue and rehoming centres every day."

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