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Following Bear Attack, PETA Asks Will Ferrell Not to Act With Animals

Written by PETA | April 23, 2008

In early February, after we were alerted to the fact that Will Ferrell’s latest movie, Semi-Pro, was to feature scenes in which Will (or, more likely, a stunt double) wrestled a live bear, PETA sent a letter to his agents letting them know about the very real cruelty that goes on behind the scenes any time an “animal actor” is trawled out for a stunt in a movie. The disturbing news that the very same bear who was used in the movie attacked and killed his trainer yesterday has put the whole thing in a new light.

It’s pretty rare that people catch a glimpse of the way the animals they see in TV shows or movies are really treated (as you might imagine, they’re not natural actors — they’re often beaten to perform). But we’re hoping that this incident, sad as it is, will encourage Hollywood actors to take a stand against performing with animals, who want to be movie stars about as much as they want to be stuck in a cage for the rest of their lives (which is pretty much the standard accommodation for a great many of the animals who are used by Hollywood). The only really surprising thing about yesterday’s tragic bear attack is that it didn’t happen sooner.

We’re asking Will Ferrell to pledge never to act with wild animals again. I’ll let you know if he gets back to us. In the meantime, you can read our letter here.


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  • larry says:

    Check out this video that PETA  made:

  • Jane says:

    Is this bear to be killed out of a kind of vengeance we seek because he killed a human who arrogantly believes wild animals can be subjugated to man dominated by human will urged to perform unnaturally what are they gonna do get another bear and repeat this? That bear needs a different option than death and I call for those in that role to come up to the plate and find an enlightened and humane solution.

  • Bobbie says:

    I have to admit I have never been involved in animal rights. However it has always angred me that animals are killed when they do what nature calls them to do to survive.

  • melissa says:

    That’s just sad that other people don’t have as much value for pets or in case wild animal’s life’s and feeling’s as they do for them selfs i bet they woludnt like it if someone took them from there home and maid them do stuff that they don’t like to do. To the trianer that got killed you sould not been being mean to that animal. So may you burn in hell where you belong!

  • Avatar says:

    Nowadays we got first class possibilities like virtual design to create every creature as if they were real pls remember Gollum of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and also the horse stunts in the Peter Jackson films are purely virtual! In this way animal suffering and putting people into dangerous situations should belong to the past!

  • Tamra Mullins says:

    I have to say that when I visited preditors in action website.I saw a picture on there looked like of Roseanne holding a chain with a leapord beside of her. What botherd me about this picture was she was wearing a coat with Leopard colar.I have to say that picture touched me. It made me feel sick and sad at the same time!!!!

  • Tamra Mullins says:

    This is the first time I have posted here on this subject concerning the bear Rocky and concerning all animals.Rocky should live!!! I don’t believe animals should be used for anything!!!! There should be a law for anyone who mistreats any animal period!!!!!!!!!!! If an animal is in a santuary it should be there to just be an animal and should be taken care of not used for anything but just to be taken care of. I am a animal lover!!! Animals have feelings and have needs. Thank You

  • Maya says:

    Hi Tamara! If what you’re suggesting is that the circus bear should be released into the wild you may need a biology lesson. Too complex to go into here but I will explain if need be The only other choice for a circus bear is to live in captivity or be destroyed. There was no bear sanctuary that would take him. The circus owners wanted to destroy him but the zoo offered to take him even though it may put the zookeepers at risk. I realize the word zoo is a dirty word but this zoo ONLY took in animals like this circus bear that had no where else to go. The bears they had have room to run climb trees and boulders and play in a waterfall. It’s not the same as living in the wild but it’s the best choice he had. These issues are not as cut and dry as you make them out to be. As long as evil circuses want to discard animals like yesterday’s trash the animals have 2 choices be killed or find someone to take them in.

  • carolyn says:

    Micheal worded it exactly why are we surprised why are people surprised when elephants that have been Bullhooked and tortured suddenly go on a rampage and kill? Animals should never be used for entertainment.

  • Kristi says:

    With all the technology out there why are they still using real animals? Why not mechanical? They can make them seem so life like.

  • Deborah Kemp says:

    I’m sorry but I have no sympathy for the trainer who was killed. Heshe shouldn’t have been doing what they where doing trying to make a wild animal do things that are totally unnatural to it. I hope that bear gets to live because if it is killed for reacting naturally then that is the real crime. Why should anyone have any sympathy for someone who mistreats animals for profit?

  • Tamara says:

    “a very happy life in a huge enclosure with a waterfall”… huh? Hate to change the subject here…but zoos are not a happy place for wild animals… just sayin’…

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Will Ferrel would be a fantastic spokesperson for animal rights. He seems like a really kind person. Sometimes it takes something like this to open people’s eyes. I heard on the radio today about how the bear is going to be destroyed. It’s a shame the zoo I interned at took in an aggressive circus bear who was originally going to be destoryed and he lived a very happy life in a huge enclosure with a waterfall. I wish we could save the poor bear and alligator.

  • Unknown says:

    this message wont change the fact that it happened i doubt will ferrel will read this and change the scripts people give him for acting. not that i dont agree with you that wild animals should be left alone..

  • lynda downie says:

    Very nice letter by Michelle Cho that says it all.

  • Annalena says:

    What a horrible event. People consumers and especially the entertainment buisness really need to wake up and see the truth behind animal “actors”. I really suggest the documentary called “Cruel Camera”. It is amazing and covers animal abuse in film. It covers the horse death during the filming of Flicka and abuses by Disney flinging lemmings of a cliff to create the fallacy of suicidal rodents etc.

  • linda r norris says:

    and they probably killed the bear…even though heshe had probably had enough of acting!!

  • michael orrell says:

    Why are people so shocked when a wild animal used for entertainment or for food attacks. Animals are just being animals. You can’t expect anything more. I’m sorry this happened so maybe humans should find another source of entertaiment.

  • Maureen says:

    No one can judge this bear by human standards. As a wild animal in captivity he was completely out of his depth and was never really understood. The alligator in Florida who wandered into someone’s home is probably going to be killed why? because there is no place for him in his own ancient environment. Two different stories but