For Immediate Release:
December 7, 2022
Robin Goist 202-483-7382
Buffalo, N.Y. – PETA has set its sights on the toy industry by calling for a revamp of playsets that promote animal exploitation to children. This morning, the group fired off letters to Fisher-Price requesting that the company omit animals from its Little People Nativity playsets—which would help discourage the use of animals in live displays—and to Basic Fun! and its licensing partner Hasbro suggesting that Littlest Pet Shop be rebranded as Littlest Animal Shelter and even included a mockup of a proposed new design.
“The toys children play with shape their view of the world, which is why it’s so important to teach compassion from an early age to ensure that animals are treated with respect,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Children have a natural affinity for animals, and by taking PETA’s suggestion to modernize their playsets, these toy companies would be fostering empathy for animals instead of support for puppy mills, where dogs suffer for a quick buck, and live Nativity scenes, in which animals are abused and forced to stand on hard concrete.”
PETA points out that including animals in Nativity playsets creates an expectation that they be present at live Nativity scenes, and animals exploited in such displays are brought in by handlers who typically use whips, electric prods, and other abusive tools to exert control. Donkeys, camels, sheep, goats, and cows are often tethered and made to stand on pavement for hours beside noisy streets or in shopping center parking lots.
PETA also notes that approximately 70 million homeless dogs and cats are struggling to survive in the U.S. on any given day, and pet shops contribute to this animal overpopulation crisis by bringing more animals into a world bursting at the seams with homeless ones. These shops also obtain animals from puppy mills, where female dogs are kept in cramped, filthy conditions and bred over and over until their spent bodies can no longer produce puppies, at which point they’re auctioned off or killed.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.