Green County Tie Found to Staged Scenes on Call of the Wildman
For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2014
David Perle 202-483-7382
Green County, Ky. – To film a segment of the Animal Planet series Call of the Wildman, the show’s star, Ernie Brown Jr., grabbed a bat out of the air inside a Green County home, then shined a bright flashlight in the nocturnal animal’s eyes before pulling the bat’s wings open as the animal struggled and bared his or her teeth in distress. Although Brown received an official warning from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) for using potentially deadly methods to catch bats in violation of his permit, he later used the same methods to capture bats in Houston. The show is now under investigation by that city, the state of Texas, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now, PETA has submitted formal complaints to the KDFWR and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) asking for investigations into possible violations of state and federal laws.
“No animal should be harassed and potentially injured or killed for the sake of a TV show,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “By keeping this show on the air, the network might as well rebrand itself as ‘Cruelty-to-Animals Planet.'”
In another segment involving Brown—according to a new Mother Jones investigation—a coyote was captured in Bowling Green approximately 84 hours prior to filming and confined to a tiny cage in which the animal could barely move. The coyote was reportedly “weak and limping” and “sluggish and unresponsive” yet was transported to the filming location before being replaced by a coyote reportedly imported from Ohio. This coyote was clearly distressed throughout the scene, in which Brown dragged—and even repeatedly lifted—the animal by the tail. For another episode, in Casey County, a porcupine was released, caught, and thrown into a trash can. These activities appear to have violated multiple wildlife-protection laws.
PETA and nearly 67,000 of its members and supporters have called for Call of the Wildman‘s cancellation—but Animal Planet has steadfastly refused to nix it.
PETA’s letters to the KDFWR and the FWS are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.