With ‘Wild West Alaska’ Star Facing 17 Criminal Charges, PETA Says Show Must Go

Animal Planet Star Jim West Accused of Illegally Killing a Bear, Other Lethal Acts Against Wildlife

For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – On the heels of Animal Planet Canada’s decision to abruptly cancel all upcoming episodes of Call of the Wildman following evidence of animal abuse, another wildlife-centered show on the network’s U.S. affiliate is coming under fire. Alaska officials have charged Wild West Alaska star Jim West with illegally killing a black bear and then covering it up, helping a client kill a moose in a national preserve in violation of the law, and committing more than a dozen other crimes. That’s why today, PETA is calling on Animal Planet to stop endorsing cruelty to animals and cancel the show.

“Animal Planet cannot continue to air Wild West Alaska without sending a message that it does not value or want to protect the welfare—and very lives—of animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Jim West and his show need to be ejected from the airways right now.”

Following a five-year investigation, Alaska authorities also charged West with illegally guiding black bear hunts on native Alaskan lands without permission, maintaining illegal bear bait stations year after year, and other crimes. In addition to possible incarceration, West could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars in fines. He is due to be arraigned in June.

Despite the charges, Animal Planet premiered the second season of Wild West Alaska as scheduled and aired it through its finale last month. While the program was not included on Animal Planet’s newly released 2014–15 slate, channel representatives revealed last week that they’re still considering renewing Wild West Alaska for a third season.

PETA has posted an action alert today on its popular website asking its members and supporters to urge Animal Planet to cancel the show. Also, the Gun Truth Project is partnering with PETA to hold Animal Planet accountable and demand an end to Wild West Alaska.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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