PETA Has Detective Pikachu’s Next Case: Investigate Hollywood Animal Trainers

Group Exposes How Pokémon Would Be Treated in the Film and Television Industry

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2019

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – As fans prepare for the much-anticipated release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu, PETA is calling on moviegoers to imagine a world in which the titular character and his Pokémon friends didn’t live in peaceful harmony with their trainers—but instead were used and abused like animals in the entertainment industry are.

Unlike Pokémon, wild animals are sometimes beaten during preproduction training and forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under threat of physical punishment. A trainer who supplied animals for major film and television productions—including Life of Pi—was caught on camera whipping a tiger approximately 20 times during a training session.

Food deprivation is another tactic used by trainers to coerce animals into cooperating or meeting casting requirements. Two cats at one of Hollywood’s most prominent suppliers, Birds & Animals Unlimited, were virtually starved for several days because they were too “fat.”

Dogs are frequently forced by their trainers to perform in terrifying scenes just so that the director can get the perfect shot. In fact, a dog was forced into rushing water on the set of A Dog’s Purpose, and last year, PETA released whistleblower footage of a dog who was locked in a cage, flung into the air, spun around by a crane, and plunged into a frigid, fast-flowing river for the Chinese blockbuster Crazy Alien.

“If Detective Pikachu looked into the practices of cruel and callous animal trainers behind some of Hollywood’s biggest productions, he’d uncover violence, neglect, and even death,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Fortunately, Pokémon will never have to suffer the same fate, so PETA is urging fans to help real-life animals by not supporting films or shows that exploit them and by reporting animal abuse.”

PETA urges anyone who witnesses cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry to report it by calling the group’s confidential whistleblower hotline at 323-210-2233 or by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. The group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.

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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