Written by Michelle Kretzer
reports from whistleblowers that a whitetip shark died during the production of
a Kmart commercial, PETA is urging the chain to investigate the incident immediately
and to adopt a policy against using wild animals in its ads. According to the
whistleblowers, the 5-foot shark was flown from New York to Los Angeles on
March 6 and placed in a small above-ground pool in Van Nuys, California. Human actors repeatedly jumped in and out of the
pool during the shoot, which likely caused the animal to stress.
PETA was told that The American Humane Association
(AHA), which approved the script and was on set, allowed shooting to continue
for about an hour after the shark began exhibiting signs of stress. The shark
was then reportedly taken out of the pool and died later that day.
are delicate animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and
controlled environment. Sharks have exceptional sensory systems that allow them
to detect minute electrical fields and sense low-frequency sounds and
vibrations. The noise and chaos of a commercial shoot is a very stressful
environment for these sensitive animals.
Animatronic and CGI sharks have been in use for
nearly 40 years in films such as Jaws, Bait 3D, Deep Blue Sea, and Shark
Night. In addition to urging Kmart to adopt a
policy against using wild animals in its commercials, PETA is contacting the
AHA regarding its failure to protect the shark.
One animal death is one too many.
HBO canceled its troubled horse-racing
series Luck amid PETA's protests over horse deaths on the set, and the bad luck
continues for the show's creators. Now HBO and the show's producer, Stewart
Productions, have been hit
with a lawsuit charging that they willfully allowed horses to be abused and attempted to cover
Paolo Camera | cc by 2.0
plaintiff in the suit is Barbara Casey, who worked for the American Humane
Association (AHA) and was assigned to monitor animal welfare on the set of Luck. In her claim Casey asserts that HBO and Stewart Productions pressured the AHA to allow them to ignore
animal safety standards in order to save time and money. Casey alleges that she
balked at the idea but that her superiors sided with the show and ignored her
desire to report abuse to law enforcement. Casey's claim also alleges that
underweight and sick horses were routinely forced to work, that horses were
often drugged, and that producers went so far as to misidentify horses so that
animal safety representatives wouldn't be able to track down their accurate
medical histories. Casey is also suing the AHA for wrongful termination on the grounds that her desire to report the criminal activity led to her dismissal.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Casey's lawsuit
argues that "AHA bowed to political and
financial pressure and refused to report the Production Defendants' conduct to
the authorities. … AHA instructed Plaintiff not to report such conduct. AHA
engaged in efforts to conceal and cover up the production defendants' criminal activities."
law-enforcement investigation that PETA pushed for is still ongoing as well and
could result in cruelty-to-animals charges.
Written by PETA
Quick recap for you, in case you missed it:
1) Late last summer, PETA contacted the producers of Speed Racer to urge them to use alternatives to live animals on set, after a chimpanzee bit a young actor.2) Despite thousands of emails from individuals who were made aware of this abuse by PETA’s campaign, the Speed Racer team continued to use live animals—and another incident occurred in Germany: A representative of the American Humane Association (AHA) witnessed a trainer hitting a chimpanzee on set.3) The AHA gave the movie an “unacceptable” rating on their site. No one noticed.
The question here is as follows: What is the point of having a representative of your organization on the sets of movies if the only thing they’re empowered to do is write a bad review on their website? Why not just send the guy from IWatchStuff.com? He could do all that and make it witty and interesting.
The other point here (which the AHA conveniently glosses over) is that most abuse occurs off the set, during training. Even when the AHA rates a movie "unacceptable,” as with this case, the animal trainer is allowed to continue working with the animal. And when the film-industry-funded AHA does rate a film "acceptable," all that means is that no animals were harmed on the set while in plain sight of an AHA representative. Which is like saying you know your kids don’t smoke pot ’cuz you’ve never seen them doing it.
There are some things that can be done, though. PETA's German affiliate has just filed a formal complaint in Potsdam calling for an immediate investigation and the filing of all appropriate charges against Greg Lille, the California-based animal trainer who assaulted the chimpanzee on the Speed Racer set. If Greg Lille is found to have violated German animal protection laws, it’ll be a lot harder for him to ever work with animals in the future. We’ll let you know how that turns out. And there’s plenty more information about PETA’s campaign to get animals out of show business for good on our No More Monkey Business website.
P.S. Speed Racer was a monumental box office disaster. :-)
You may remember that there were hearings last month in support of a bill that would have banned the use of cruel bullhooks in the entire state of California. And no bullhooks means less pain and suffering for elephants in circuses or on the sets of commercials or movies, so it is a super important piece of legislation. It was supported not only by PETA, but essentially the entire animal protection community. The only animal advocacy group who sided with the circus industry in opposing the bullhook ban was the American Humane Association (AHA). I wonder if AHA is more concerned about protecting the film industry, and the huge contributions they receive to monitor films, than the animals they are supposed to protect. . . .
Anyway, here’s the letter we sent the AHA’s board of directors asking them wtf is up. The bill is still in committee and can still be called up for a vote, so for the elephants’ sake, here’s hoping the AHA come to their senses and get behind it . . .
We caught up with Weeds star Kevin Nealon last week to shoot a little PSA in our veggie testimonial series, in which vegetarian celebrities talk about what got them to make the switch to a meatless diet. At the end of the shoot, Kevin wanted to take a few moments to talk about the ridiculous kangaroo-leather bill—SB 880—that's ominously making its way through the legislature in his home state of California. He also took the opportunity to finally speak openly about his deep-seated fears about driving in reverse. If you're from California, and you share Kevin's distaste for anti-kangaroo legislation, you can take action here. If you also share his phobia about driving backwards, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do to help you.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.