Feds Cite ‘Call of the Wildman’ Exhibitor for Cruel Handling of Drugged Zebra

PETA Appeals to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Over Harassment, Possible Harm to Protected Animal in Filming of Animal Planet Show

For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Franklin, Texas – In an episode of the Animal Planet series Call of the Wildman, the show’s star, Ernie Brown Jr., chases down a zebra, who had supposedly escaped from a fenced-in yard, and roughly wrestles the animal to the ground. PETA learned that the Grévy’s zebra—who is protected under the Endangered Species Act—had been drugged prior to filming. Now, in response to a PETA complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the zebra’s supplier, Jason Clay of Franklin Drive Thru Safari, has been cited in association with this incident for violating the federal regulation that forbids handling an animal in a manner that could cause “trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort.”

Call of the Wildman is a charade built on staged scenes and animal abuse,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The way this show flouts local, state, and federal animal-protection laws is a disgrace to television, in general, and Animal Planet, in particular.”

In the episode, Brown can be seen forcefully throwing the zebra to the ground by twisting the animal’s head to the side. Hollering loudly throughout the ordeal, he is then seen lying on the zebra’s neck and holding the animal down by pressing a hand on the animal’s eye. The incident is just one of many that clearly illustrate the unveiled cruelty inherent in Call of the Wildman.

PETA has also asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to investigate Call of the Wildman for violations of the Lacey Act—the federal law that regulates trafficking in wildlife—and the Endangered Species Act. Following complaints from PETA, the Houston Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department is investigating and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is looking into the show for violations as well.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind