Just a month after PETA wrote to the cast and producers of The Zookeeper to warn them that the company supplying animals for the movie’s production has a long list of USDA citations, we have heartbreaking news to report. Tweet, a giraffe on the set who had also been forced to perform in Ace Ventura and a slew of Toys “R” Us commercials, has died.
Tweet collapsed in his pen while being fed on Friday. While giraffes in the wild can live into their mid 20s, Tweet was only 18 years old.
The results of Tweet’s necropsy haven’t been released yet, but according to a whistleblower who contacted PETA, Tweet’s premature death may have resulted from his eating pieces of the blue tarp that covered his enclosure. The whistleblower alleges that Tweet’s owner and trainers were notified that the giraffe had been eating the tarp but that they did nothing about it.
The whistleblower also said that Tweet spent the last few months of his life confined to a 20-foot-by-20-foot stall, which was barely large enough for the 18-foot-tall giraffe to lie down in. In their natural habitat, giraffes live in vast home ranges of up to 400 square miles.
PETA is now calling on the USDA to investigate Tweet’s death. We’re also asking for other people associated with the production of the movie to come forward with additional information about the treatment of animals on the set.
Written by Shawna Flavell