‘Life of Pi’ Wins First-Ever PETA ‘Pony Award’

For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York – And the Pony goes to …  Life of Pi. Today PETA announced its first-ever Pony Award—the organization’s version of a Tony, honoring the most animal-friendly theater productions. The play earned the award for the Most Innovative Depiction of an Animal in celebration of the undeniable star of the show: a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, portrayed by a spectacular, lifelike puppet that requires three puppeteers to maneuver.

PETA notes that using puppets and other innovative effects instead of live animals ensures that all performers are willing participants and prevents the horrific abuse that can occur when real animals are used. For instance, in 2015, an animal trainer for the 2012 film version of Life of Pi was caught on video viciously whipping a Siberian tiger 20 times in a row during a training session.

“The artists behind this beautiful play are proving that you can tell amazing animal stories without forcing vulnerable sentient beings to perform for our entertainment,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA challenges everyone in the entertainment industry to follow their example by bringing animals to the stage and screen through artistry, not exploitation.”

Last month, PETA announced the winners of its sixth annual Oscat Awards, recognizing compassionate stars and movies that used storylines, costumes, and special effects to promote kindness to animals.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Note: “Tony” and “Tony Awards” are registered trademarks of American Theatre Wing Inc., which is not affiliated or associated with PETA, nor does it endorse, sponsor, or otherwise approve of PETA or PETA’s Pony Awards.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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