Photographer Tyler Shields has taken to the Internet to defend himself against complaints from animal rights activists over a recent meaty Mischa Barton shoot.
The O.C. star stripped off for a photoshoot with Shields, and in the series of bizarre new images, she can be seen nibbling on a piece of raw meat and placing a slab of uncooked steak over her eye - all while topless.
The odd shots have sparked controversy among vegetarians and both the actress and the artist have come under fire from officials at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) this week (begs10Oct11) for glamorising the slaughter of livestock.
Releasing a statement to TooFab.com, a spokesman said, "This raw meat stuff is getting old and may not only hurt and kill cows. It may hurt Mischa, because so much meat is infected with salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter (bacteria) that licking it is like licking a toilet.
"In addition to this being completely unoriginal, it's completely callous - flesh from a tortured animal isn't a joke, isn't camp, and isn't cool. Meat is full of blood, is produced with violence, and causes great suffering."
Shields has addressed the outcry, telling EOnline.com, "I am not for the suffering of animals. But I didn't kill that cow. I eat meat and I've always eaten meat and that's part of my life. But when they attack me as an artist and try and degrade Mischa, that's unacceptable."