Animal rights activists aren’t taking the slow and steady when it comes to protesting Colorado’s Aspen Art Museum, which held the grand opening of its new building on Saturday with an exhibit featuring tortoises carrying iPads.
The exhibit titled “Moving Ghost Town” by artist Cai Guo-Qiang includes three tortoises with two iPads each strapped to their backs. The tortoises meander through an enclosed space while the tablets play video footage of local ghost towns.
More than 5,500 protesters have since signed a Change.org petition to “take the iPads off the tortoises,” which Aspen residents and animal rights activists have described as “animal exploitation and abuse.”
“The Tortoises that you have in your new display in the new Aspen Art Museum have had iPads attached to their shells and must endure the weight of 2 iPads on their back as they walk around showing slides of old Aspen in the name of art,” the petition reads. “Since when is animal abuse art? We must all rise and stop this now!! There is no excuse for this!”
According to the petition, the tortoises were neglected pets previously removed from a “bad situation” before they moved into their new home at the exhibit, where they’re given food, shelter and medical care.
The Aspen Art Museum has already responded to the petition according to a Time report, and said it is working with both a local veterinarian and the Turtle Conservancy to ensure the safety and health of the animals.
A statement from the museum on Facebook said the technique used to mount the iPads is similar to one researchers use to study wild turtles, and only accounts for “negligible weight” to the tortoises. The Turtle Conservancy has also said it does not believe the iPads are causing the tortoises any harm.