PETA Slams Nickelodeon for Harmful Animal ‘Talent’ Show

Unleashed Features Wild Animals Including a Bear and a Capuchin Monkey

For Immediate Release:
October 20, 2020

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York – As part of its ongoing efforts to keep animals out of film and television, PETA has sent letters blasting Nickelodeon executives for the channel’s new series Unleashed, a 10-part animal “talent” show advertising tricks performed by a bear, monkeys, a raccoon, a squirrel, and other wild animals.

In the letters, PETA notes that the bear in the show is believed to be Tag, who is frequently used by the notorious training outfit Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife (SMWW), which the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited numerous times for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. The violations include locking chimpanzees and orangutans in cramped and barren “night housing” for up to 18 hours a day and failing to provide animals with adequate space, shelter, and ventilation or with clean cages and proper feeding.

“This Nickelodious show has got to go,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on the network to stop legitimizing animal abusers, profiting from suffering animals, and sending impressionable children the harmful message that animals exist for our own amusement.”

The group notes that bears and monkeys used for entertainment are frequently stolen from their mothers as babies, beaten and caged, and denied everything that’s natural and important to them, including opportunities to climb, forage, choose mates, raise young, and roam vast distances. As a result, they often develop neurotic behavior patterns, such as pacing, rocking, swaying, cage-biting, and self-mutilation. Many suffer from debilitating loneliness and depression.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—further notes that SMWW has a history of disposing of unwanted chimpanzees and other wild animals by posting ads in dubious animal trade publications or discarding them at shoddy roadside zoos, including the atrocious G.W. Zoo featured on Netflix’s Tiger King.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. If you see an animal being used for a film or TV show or at a training compound, please report it to PETA immediately here. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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