TV and Animal-Protection Icon Joins PETA in Urging Network to Replace Abused Captive Animals With Creative and Humane Computer-Generated Technology
For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2016
On the heels of a massive PETA ad blitz targeting CBS for its use of live animals in Zoo, Bob Barker—who hosted the network’s The Price Is Right for 35 years—has written a letter on behalf of PETA to CBS President David Stapf calling for a network-wide ban on the use of wild animals in future programming.
“When used for entertainment, big cats and other animals are torn away from their mothers, subjected to abusive training methods, and locked inside tiny cages,” writes Barker. “The only way to stop this cruelty is to replace the use of captive wild animals in your shows with the creative, versatile, and humane technology that exists today, such as computer-generated imagery.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that last season, Zoo used big cats, a bear, wolves, and two baboons, among many other animals. It also employed Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife—Martin is one of the only trainers who still uses chimpanzees, and his many violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act include locking apes inside barren cages for up to 18 hours a day. CBS dropped plans to use infamous trainer Michael Hackenberger this season only after PETA alerted producers that he had been caught on camera mercilessly whipping a tiger. Hackenberger has since been charged with five counts of cruelty to animals.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Bob Barker’s letter to David Stapf follows.
CBS Television Studios
Dear Mr. Stapf,
As former host of the longest-running show on CBS, I am writing to you after hearing from my friends at PETA that your network continues to allow wild animals to be used on Zoo, despite learning that, when used for entertainment, big cats and other animals are torn away from their mothers, subjected to abusive training methods, and locked inside tiny cages. I urge you to end this exploitation and adopt a network-wide policy banning the use of wild animals in future CBS programming.
While I was relieved that Zoo dropped plans to use notorious animal trainer Michael Hackenberger this season after PETA notified producers that he had been caught on camera violently whipping a tiger—for which he is now facing five charges of cruelty to animals—eyewitness investigations and whistleblower reports have revealed that physical and psychological abuse of wild animals used for film and television is standard practice.
The only way to stop this cruelty is to replace the use of captive wild animals in your shows with the creative, versatile, and humane technology that exists today, such as computer-generated imagery. As demonstrated by productions such as Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and the upcoming David Yates film, The Legend of Tarzan, in which large numbers of animals have been created with such technology, it’s time for CBS to step up for animals and follow suit.
Thank you for your time and consideration.