‘Westworld’ on Blast: PETA Says HBO Must Stop Exploiting Wild Animals

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2 min read

HBO’s Westworld—a show that presents riveted viewers with the rape and murder fantasies of rich patrons in a romanticized version of white colonization—couldn’t contain the violence to fictitious humans and robots. The cruelty spilt over into the real world when the show used a live and notoriously abused elephant in a recent episode. Now, PETA is calling on the network to do away with all animal exploitation.

PETA has received complaints from HBO viewers—and with good reason.

Tai—one of the elephants used in episode 3 of season 2, “Virtù e Fortuna”—is owned and exhibited by the infamous outfit Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT). Eyewitness video footage shows trainers at HTWT forcefully striking and jabbing Tai and other elephants with a bullhook in order to force them to perform tricks during training sessions—and Tai can even be seen crying out as she’s electrically shocked.

Kari Johnson, co-owner of HTWT, acknowledged under oath that her company chains elephants for more than 12 hours a day. It’s no surprise that only one of the four elephants born at HTWT’s facility survived past the age of 4.

HBO continues to support egregious cruelty to animals.

Adding insult to Tai’s injuries, the same scene in question features a beautifully done computer-generated tiger—proving that live animals are completely unnecessary in film and television. But despite obvious alternatives—as well as the public’s ever-growing opposition to the use of animals for entertainment—there are reports that Westworld plans to use live bears this season.

HBO—which has also used a bear and an elephant in Silicon Valley, a tiger in Vice Principals, and a lion in The Leftovers—came under fire from PETA in 2012 after three horses died during the filming of the horse-racing drama Luck, which led to the show’s cancellation.

PETA urges HBO to get on the right side of history and commit to implementing a ban on using wild animals.

You Can Help Animals Like Tai Right Now

Until HBO makes a commitment to stop exploiting wild animals, please boycott Westworld, and reject any other television show or film that uses live wild animals as well.

Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison and gawk at, or circus clowns. Yet thousands of them are forced to perform meaningless, confusing tricks under the threat being whipped, beaten, poked, and prodded. Please join PETA in taking a stand for animals used in entertainment.

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