Written by Michelle Kretzer
Great Britain has united against circuses that force wild animals to perform. With the vast majority of
the British public behind them, the members of Parliament voted unanimously to ban wild-animal acts in circuses
in England and Wales.
Pressure has been mounting for the past
few years for the government to make this historic move, particularly after animal rights
an undercover video that showed a groom at Bobby Roberts Super Circus who kicked
an Asian elephant named Anne and beat her with a pitchfork. PETA U.K. kept up the
anti-circus momentum, with demonstrations,
ads, newspaper articles, and action alerts asking its members to e-mail the prime minister.
Now Britons can pop a cork and celebrate the fact that legislation to ban all
wild animals from circuses is passing through Parliament, meaning no more wild
animals will be torn from their homes and families, denied everything that is
natural and important to them, confined to tiny boxcars or cages, and forced to
perform demeaning and painful tricks for human amusement.
Circuses in England and
Wales will go on—but with talented human performers who are there by choice.
We aren't there yet in the U.S.—but the
time is coming. Check out PETA's guide "Steps to Take When the Circus Comes to Town"
for ideas on how to help. England and Wales are ending these cruel acts, and we
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.
Written by Jeff Mackey
We love Jimmy Fallon around here. He's
funny but not mean, has a keen musical sense, and is still boyishly charming. He's
totally adorbs. So what's not to like? Well, there is
one thing we'd change—and PETA has sent Jimmy a letter explaining why.
For some inexplicable reason, a frequent guest on Late Night has been animal exhibitor
Jeff Musial. Unlike the amiable Mr. Fallon, Musial is unlikeable, disrespectful,
and clearly more interested in scaring Jimmy and giving the audience cheap
laughs than taking care of the animals he treats like props. Musial handles the
animals roughly, causing them additional anxiety in an already stressful
So, what gives, Jimmy? After staying up late to watch you,
we want to go to bed with a smile, not toss and turn with nightmares about cruelty
to animals. And we're not alone: PETA has received many complaints from viewers
who were upset by how Musial mishandles terrified animals. We really hope that you'll
make the compassionate decision never again to feature Musial's squalid animal
act on Late Night.
What You Can Do
and showbiz go together like gasoline and matches—a disaster waiting to happen. Please
never support any animal act by buying a ticket.
PETA's release last week of disturbing whistleblower reports of 27 animal
deaths during the filming of The Hobbit: An Unexpected
Journey, we have asked authorities in New Zealand, where The Hobbit was filmed, to investigate and pursue appropriate criminal
charges if warranted.
five whistleblowers, all wranglers who worked on the film set, allege the
the AHA monitors who were
supposed to be ensuring the animals' safety were overly friendly with the head trainer—who
was himself distracted by other projects—and the AHA was absent for many of the
animal sequences. Allegedly, three horses died before the AHA investigated and
recommended improvements in housing. The wranglers also report that they voiced
their concerns to the unit production manager but were ignored.
September, PETA contacted the AHA about reported problems on The Hobbit set, but we've yet to receive
a response. PETA wrote to director Peter Jackson to find out what, if anything, he knew about the animals' deaths during
production. The man who brought us the superb computer-generated imagery (CGI)
that won him our Proggy (for "progress") Award for King Kong has the ability to make the animals and other interesting creatures in his
movies 100 percent CGI, and PETA calls on him to do so again.
the age of Oscar-winning
digital effects, there is no reason why a single animal should suffer for
a film. Join PETA in urging Jackson to continue to use cutting-edge CGI and
give his assurance that no animal will ever suffer again for one of his movies.
Animal advocates, it's time to break out
the bubbly. After pressure from PETA and tens of thousands of our members and
supporters, NBC has pulled
the plug on its cruel show, Animal
Practice. Here's the celebration in progress at PETA's Bob Barker Building in L.A.:
The only thing funny about this "sitcom"
was its laughable ratings. By not tuning in, viewers told NBC that they weren't
interested in watching animals dressed up and made to perform cheap tricks—animals
who had been torn away from their mothers as babies and subjected to cruel training methods and unnatural living conditions.
Even before the first episode aired,
PETA showed NBC that if the network wanted to broadcast cruelty, it was going
to have a rocky road ahead of it. We wrote to NBC and the show's producers and explained
how wild animals suffer in the entertainment industry. We kept the heat on by
asking advertisers to pull their support, organizing demonstrations, sending an urgent action alert to our members and supporters, and enlisting
primate experts to speak out about how the portrayal of monkeys as "pets" leads irresponsible people to acquire them on a whim. And it worked.
NBC will air the three remaining
episodes of Animal Practice that have
already been filmed. Then viewers can rest assured that cruelty to animals won't
be part of the Wednesday night TV lineup.
On the heels of a Los Angeles Times report about whistleblowers' allegations that oversight failures may have led to animal injuries and deaths during film and TV productions, PETA was joined by Hollywood animal advocates Bob Barker and Sam Simon for a news conference calling for immediate action to protect animals.
PETA was flooded with complaints from whistleblowers after we released leaked information earlier this year about the deaths of horses on the set of HBO's Luck. The complaints that we've received include an incident in which a horse and rider were allegedly swept downstream in a scene from the upcoming film The Lone Ranger and the deaths of three horses on the set of The Hobbit. Many of the alleged incidents reportedly involved pressure from industry figures to put animals at risk in a wide range of movie and TV productions, including some that are still being filmed.
During the news conference at PETA's Bob Barker Building in Los Angeles, legendary The Price Is Right host Barker and The Simpsons co-creator Simon backed PETA's appeal for the American Humane Association (AHA)—the organization assigned to monitor the use of animals on TV and film sets—to launch an immediate investigation into the allegations. To ensure that the AHA's ratings have any meaning, PETA presented a series of recommendations for an overhaul of the monitoring system, including the following:
Producers, directors, and writers must also do their part. They must make sure that animal trainers with U.S. Department of Agriculture violations are not employed, that scenes aren't written that would endanger horses and wild animals, and that computer-generated imagery, animatronics, and other technology are used to replace animals. Animals should never have to die for our entertainment.
You can help horses, great apes, and other animals used in the entertainment industry by contacting the AHA right now. Use the form below to urge the AHA to swiftly implement a plan to protect all animal "actors."
PETA has sent an urgent letter to the board of directors of
the American Humane Association (AHA) detailing reported allegations of
incidents—some of them fatal—and lack of proper oversight involving animals on
more than a dozen recent or current film and television productions purportedly
monitored for animal safety by the AHA, as related to PETA by whistleblowers.
PETA is asking the AHA to investigate the allegations and, if they prove to be
valid, to fix any problems that allowed them to occur.
The AHA is the organization—known for its "No Animals Were
Harmed" statement seen in film credits—tasked by Hollywood with monitoring the use of animals on TV and
film sets. But it is not clear that this statement means what
it seems to say. The deaths of
horses on the set of HBO's Luck made it
clear that AHA involvement didn't mean that animals were safe. After PETA took
that matter public, the series was canceled—and PETA was contacted with reports
about several other productions where animals allegedly died or were injured or
put at risk. If the reports are substantiated, some of the problems could have
been averted. Some of the assertions allege that AHA's management ignored problems
or even helped set up the filming of sequences that were potentially dangerous
The productions about which concerns were conveyed to PETA
include Moonrise Kingdom,
Boardwalk Empire, The Hobbit, Failure to Launch, Abraham
Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Lone
Ranger, and others. PETA was informed
that the AHA ratings of some films do not reflect what occurred on set, that "Acceptable"
ratings have been given when not all animal action was monitored, and that
ratings were changed when the AHA feared information about problems on the set
would be leaked. Some of the reported incidents allegedly resulted in injuries to
animals and even their deaths.
Whether or not the whistleblowers' claims are verified or if
the AHA institutes reforms, AHA ratings are based only on the short period of
time when animals are on the set—they don't reveal anything about how the
animals were trained or the conditions in which they live.
There is no reason to use animals as "actors" when
animation, blue screen, computer-generated imagery, and other advanced
technologies can produce realistic
substitutes. If you see a movie that uses animals in an improper way or portrays animals disrespectfullly,
walk out, and tell the theater manager that you'd like a refund and why. For television
shows or commercials, express
your objections to network representatives or the advertised company.
This time, the sad news comes from Japan: Pan-kun, a
well-known chimpanzee from the Aso Cuddly Dominion Zoo who is forced to dress
in costumes and perform for gawking audiences, erupted in frustration after a
show and violently
attacked a student trainee. Pan-kun remains at the zoo but has been "retired"
from performing. The young woman has been hospitalized.
Because chimpanzees, monkeys, and other nonhuman primates remind us of ourselves, we're fascinated to observe them—but incarcerating exotic animals far from
their natural environment and society can result in unpredictable and dangerous behavior.
We hardly needed yet another example of how the growing frustration of wild animals who are held captive and made to
do stupid tricks for our amusement under the threat of physical punishment turns
them into ticking time bombs.
But here it is. And there'll be more so long as we keep compelling smart,
sensitive, and complex animals to entertain us against their will.
You can help. Sign PETA's pledge never to support film and television productions that
exploit great ape "actors."
For decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) illegally
and quietly issued captive-bred wildlife permits—allowing circuses, roadside
zoos, and others to harm, harass, and wound captive-bred endangered species and
making it almost impossible to challenge these abuses. For example, one federal
judge wouldn't allow a former Ringling Bros. circus employee and a
coalition of animal protection groups to challenge Ringling's beating and chaining of captive-bred elephants because Ringling had a captive-bred wildlife permit.
Furryscaly|cc by 2.0
PETA sued the FWS in August 2011 over its decision to
secretly issue one such permit and ignore a requirement that the public be
notified of all permit applications. We asked the court to require the FWS to
make those applications publicly available and to consider public comments
before making a decision about whether to approve any application.
PETA prevailed in the lawsuit—the agency agreed to do just
that and to pay PETA's attorney fees. This victory will make it easier for PETA
to keep a closer eye on animals bred in captivity by Ringling, SeaWorld, Have Trunk Will Travel, and other animal abusers. It also enables PETA to weigh in on permit
applications and bring legal challenges against permits that are improperly
Rennett Stowe|cc by 2.0
To learn more about helping captive animals, head over to the "Animals Used for
Entertainment" section of PETA.org.
PETA just filed formal complaints about horse abuse and neglect on the
set of the HBO show Luck, we've placed this
graphic ad in the Los Angeles Times:
Image:(c) iStockphoto.com/Eric Isselee
all other animals, horses don't want to be "actors," and they are often subjected to stressful and
dangerous situations during the production of films, ads, and TV
shows. The American Humane Association (AHA), the organization responsible for overseeing how animals
are cared for on the set, is funded by the Screen Actors Guild—part of the same
industry that it monitors. The AHA rarely, if ever, files formal complaints
when animals are abused.
We hope our ad encourages producers and directors to protect
horses by calling, "Cut!" on using them in films and television.
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.