A photographer’s child photo series has gone viral - complete with death threats – after he was accused of animal abuse for his use of live baby animals in his portraits.
The photographer at the center of the controversy is Mercer Harris, who is based in Washington, Georgia, and claims to have been a professional photographer for over 30 years.
Live animals have featured within Harris’ shoots for much of his career. However, it wasn’t until last week that significant attention was drawn to his images. Many of them show young children, albeit innocently, mishandling the animals. Ducklings are shown being grabbed by the neck or hung upside down – while bunnies are lifted by their ears.
Naturally, Harris’ social pages have been awash with negative comments, with many writing scathing remarks on any of his pictures they can find – regardless of whether they feature animals or not. He’s been labeled “the worst kind of human,” with some calling for intervention from animal welfare officers. The more extreme remarks include threats to his daughter’s life, or wishing terminal illness on Harris himself. Others went as far as to post his personal details, including his phone number and address, online.
Speaking to PetaPixel, Harris confirmed his local sheriff’s department had been contacted over the images, but it was ruled he had committed no crimes. He said:
We’ve never had an animal harmed or die over 30 years of photography. There’s not a single duck that died during these sessions. We completely understand that the ducks are babies.
What’s more, Harris insists the ducklings he purchases for the portraits are all Peking ducks, that would otherwise face being slaughtered. All of the animals – bunnies included – are sold to private homes after the shoots.
The images in question have since been removed from his pages.
Lead image source: Pixabay via Pexels.