PETA Protesting Use of Real Animals in CBS’ ‘Zoo’

Zoo CBS Animal Controversy
Courtesy of CBS

PETA hopes ‘Zoo’ will be one of this summer’s first cancellations,” the animal rights organization said.

The advocacy group is protesting the use of live animals in CBS’ new drama “Zoo.” The show, which premieres Tuesday, is based on James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge’s novel of the same title, and follows a global outbreak of animal attacks on humans.

“By producing a show that exploits wild animals, including lions, CBS has proved that it’s out of sync with public opinion at a time when people are shunning SeaWorld’s captive orca sideshows, states and counties are passing laws banning wild animal acts and private ownership, and Ringling Bros. is taking elephants off the road,” Brittany Peet, PETA’s foundation deputy director of captive animal law enforcement, said in a statement.

Star James Wolk told reporters at a Los Angeles press junket for the show in May that precautions were taken to ensure the actors felt comfortable around the wild animals during filming. “All the animals that we’ve had down on set — and it’s been tons of animals, because it should also be said there hasn’t been a ton of CGI, there’s been a lot of real animals on set — they all come with trainers,” he said.

The animals included an 800-pound grizzly bear and a lion.

“It’s exciting from an actor’s standpoint, too,” he continued. “Your palms start to sweat, your heart starts to beat and you can’t help that when you’re around a lion or a bear. We have trainers on set every time we’re down there. And it’s been a real, as far as these things go, an efficient process with the animals.”

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PETA took issue with the use of real lions, as opposed to computer generated ones. “Lions belong in the wild, not confined to tiny cages and forced to perform tricks, often under the threat of beatings,” the statement said. “CBS should employ only humane and versatile computer-generated imagery, as so many other productions have done.”

Like most actors, co-executive producer Jeff Pinkner said the animals were prone to falling asleep — sometime mid-scene. “One of the fun things is they’re actors, but they’re animals,” Pinkner said. “They can be trained, but when the moment happens, they don’t necessarily behave the way you’re expecting.”

The show’s co-executive producer, Scott Rosenberg, assured reporters that the show will not vilify animals in any way. In fact, “The animals, in a strange way, are the hero,” he said.

“Listen, we all love animals and nobody wants to create an environment that’s anti-animal,” Rosenberg said. “That said, in July, when mom, dad, Buddy and sis are sitting on the couch and they just finished watching episode five of ‘Zoo’ and the dog is sitting over there, Skippy the Spaniel. … We want the whole world to fear their Schnauzer, then we’ve done our job right.”

Although the animals are the treat, Rosenberg noted that all five lead characters love the beasts.

“It’s the weirdest thing, because the whole season we’re writing, like, scary animal, scary animal, but at the end of the day, they actually want to heal the animals, not so much to save the world, which of course is part of it, but it’s truly to save these creatures that they love, that they’ve made their lives’ work and dedication to,” he said.

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  1. bigg3469 says:

    A reality shows that I like to see is when PETA goes back in the Middle Ages during the Black Death trying to save the rats who are carrying the Plauge claiming that they (the rats) has rights to live and dying from the Plauge!

  2. Tom says:

    Nicholas you need two things serious therapy and life I suggest you go and get both before you become a static!!?

    • Artiewhiotefox says:

      Open your mouth when Chemical warfare stops with vaccination shots and when altering stops;.

      • Nicholas says:

        I’m not sure I understand Artie. Is your reasoning for not discussing this problem solely that there are other problems in the world?? That seems counterintuitive.
        Yes I agree that there are plenty of other detrimental issues that need resolving world wide, however no change can occur until our culture undergoes a serious paradigm shift. In my opinion stopping animal subjugation, abuse and our apathy towards both, is the first of many steps in bringing about change. If we can value life and respect nature, only then can we build a better relationship with one another. Only then can we stop war. Only then can we end dictatorship and regain freedom not just as a nation but as a planet. It is a domino effect and it must start somewhere. “As above, so below”.
        In the words of Pythagoras, “For as long as man massacres animals they will kill one another. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and fear cannot reap joy and love”.

    • Nicholas says:

      I read your words but your meaning eludes me. Likely because there was no meaning. You speak from ignorance and argue with conjecture based assumptions. I would argue with tenacity that therapy would benefit you much more than I.
      It’s frightening that showing compassion for animal life is somehow idiosyncratic in today’s society and it only further proves my point that a radical change is needed.
      I am very willing to have an intellectual debate on the issues facing contemporary culture (especially animal rights/cruelty).
      I will not however tolerate ignorance. So speak with substance and fact or do not speak at all.

      • Artiewhiotefox says:

        Alerting is killing enumerable animals when PETA destroys thier God made parts not batting an eye. There is an eternal soul in the non human animals. The animals are God’s.

      • Artiewhiotefox says:

        Nicholas saysNicholas: PETA is destroying an animals ability to make life complaining about what others are doing.. That is a large beam in the eyes of PETA. They cannot see what they are doing.

      • Artiewhiotefox says:

        Nicholas: PETA is destroying an animals ability to make life complaining about what others are doing.. That is a large beam in the eyes of PETA

  3. Nicholas Evers says:

    It’s outrageous using these majestic, endangered, animals as props in your show while CGI could produce the same effect. Lie to yourself if you need to, lightheartedly call them, “actors”, and jest about how they seem happy on set. It’s an outlandish claim to make that these conscious, emotional, beautiful creatures want to be anywhere but in the wild with their fellow animals. I for one will boycot Netflix until either this show is canceled or it changes its policy’s on using live animals for entertainments purposes. It is a ridiculous perpetuation of a paradigm that desperately needs shattering and it will not stand.

    • Tom says:

      My previous comment stands because you haven’t the ability to understand does not negate the fact that you are seriously misinformed and neurotic!! I’ll bet your masters is in philosophy,useless as your comments a waste of time!!

      • Nicholas says:

        I’m willing to hear you out, but again I must ask Tom, What point are you trying to make? I fail to see any meaning behind what you say so Please give me ONE fact to back up your implicit claims that animal abuse is perfectly moral, that entertaining ourselves is more important on the grand scale than these animals lives?
        You say I am misinformed? Misinformed about what?
        You say I’m neurotic? What basis do you have to make that claim? Caring about animal welfare makes me psychotic? I think the opposite is true.
        And you claim that I, “failed to understand your point”. However it’s abundantly clear that you failed to make any point at all.

        So just to be clear, the reason I am calling you out on all of your bulldshit is because people with dogmatic, morally dissident, realitivistic views like yours are destroying this planet by spreading their ignorance.
        That my friend, is MY point.

  4. Thanos X says:

    If they really love the animals they would not imprison them and use them as slaves. Animals can’t be actor. They can’t learn how to act, they can’t choose to be actors, they simply can’t act in any possible way. Every time you see a wild animal in a movie is like in the circus when they are just forced by submission and beating to obey men’s commands. That’s slavery and abuse. And must not be tollerated or support.

  5. Alea Rose says:

    Maybe when the animals take over the world, they’ll eat PETA first… ;)

  6. John says:

    I am sure the book was great. If this dumb ass show makes it past 3 episodes, Ill be surprised.

  7. Emma says:

    Sadly PETA can do more harm than good for animal welfare with its quick to accuse and extreme views. I hate to see animals being mistreated but I’m sure these animals were well looked after. Today many animals are really suffering due to intensive farming, animals testing, people mistreating their pets and poor zoos and this is where I feel PETA should focus. I do not agree with their view all zoos are like prisons. Good zoos like San Diego Zoo today play a vital role in conservation, education and spend millions on the welfare of their animals and creating enclosures which mimic their natural habitats. In the wild today life for many animals isn’t that great, many are facing extinction due to destruction of their habitat, from coming into conflict with man and being hunted.

    • KansasGuest says:

      Please don’t assume that any animals you see playing roles in a movie or tv show are “well treated.” Even without PETA to sound an alarm, there are sanctuaries all over the U.S. that have taken in exotic animals that were treated horribly during their “glamorous” life in the entertainment industry. The stories for each animal can be read online for all to see, and it’s not a pretty picture. It’s not a well-regulated business IMO because there is no one to hold these trainers accountable in the privacy of their own ranches/estates/homes. Local animal control departments have their hands full with stray dogs, cats & other wildlife. They barely have the time to check up on animal trainers with no complaints against them. And, some of these “trainers” live in secluded areas just for the purposes of being able to treat their animals badly with no one being the wiser. It’s tragic and, IMO, unnecessary. If people really want exotic animals to live as they should, don’t force them to become performing monkeys. It’s a fate that not even monkeys should be subjected to.

    • Tom says:

      The main problem with PETA is they are painting everyone with the same brush zoos,farms,dog breeders,which of course when anyone makes broad statements like they do generalizing they are almost always wrong. If PETA did this with any group of people they would be chased off the planet all gays are child molesters,all blacks are drug dealers and gang bangers,all Hispanics are illegal criminals how long would their agenda be tolerated? I am both a large farmer and dog breeder in Mexico and one of the reasons I moved here was to no longer be bothered by these types of kooks. The welfare of my animals is very important both from the standpoint of cruelty and profit. The idea that large scale animal farmers are all cruel and dirty is ridiculous, are so e operators not doing a good job of course ,but the vast majority of us are concerned with the welfare of our animals it makes me sick to hear their repeated lies.From what I have heard over the past several years PETA has been relegated to the fringe loon group,with many campaigns that made them look totally foolish I think what got the ball rolling is when they put up billboards and took out ads in college campus magazines something to the effect “Drink beer save a cow” WTH nice !!! MADD really loved that one!!?

      • Sybil says:

        Tom….if you like your animals so much why don’t you help them by finding homes for the ones that so desperately need a home instead of breeding. There is a huge problem out there with abandoned and neglected animals. Seems like you just care about the American dollar but you are doing a lazy man’s job of earning it. What a shame. Another border jumper adding to our problems.

  8. irishcornaire says:

    PETA,get bent,tis obvious no one there read the book,I did and it was brilliant!

    • Tom says:

      Sybil apparently you don’t read well I did live in the states for 40 years and was a breeder the reason I moved to Mexico was to get away form the kooks I said?! As for border jumper that’s a real peach of a statement on my mothers fathers side they lived in California for 300 years on my fathers side they lived in Pennsylvania before the revolutionary war 1756 they immigrated from Ireland when did your family get here last generation!! Another liberal with a load of idiotic insults? As per the dogs in pounds most of them are unacceptable for various reasons number one pit bulls and pit bull mixes in some pounds especially high kill pounds up to 90% are of these two breeds,for whatever reason people with young children do not want these dogs,don’t even start with the pit bull argument, they kill and seriously maim up to 60 people a year. Secondly many of the dogs in pounds have behavioral and or health problems the average family has a big enough job taking care of their children let alone a dog that needs 4 hrs a day of therapy. Also many people want small dogs or are only allowed to have dogs under 15 lbs per where they live most dogs in pounds are not small contrary to what people try to say! I have dealt with all these issues for 40 years so I would guess I probably know a lot more about these issues than any citizen on the street. When I was in the states I heard a dredge of the reasons why people could not get a dog at the pound ,the number one the breed issue ,number two they did not want a rambunctious 80lb lab/?mix. Now in the utopia animal kook world if you want a chihuahua and all they have are big mixes then you’ll take what they have and like it?! They have a term for these ideas it’s called communism and luckily enough we haven’t yet fallen that far in our society but if the AR nuts had their way that would be your choice ,no choice!! It’s funny because I’ll guarantee you that the same people that insist you will take what we have or do without are the same people that are 100% pro choice when it comes to killing a baby?? A waste of breath I sure because you have drunk the AR kool aide and will never see another point of view?!

  9. Tom says:

    PETA has the solution do like they do and kill 94% of the animals they take in!! Brilliant!

    • yep. PETA and all of the animal shelters as they call them say I care, I care, I care, whoops we have no life to care about. We killed and altered all of them to extinction.

  10. Coach L. says:

    PETA members NEED to STOP eating any kind of Food, because plants are people too…and they hurt when you cut them off their stem. Maybe they could eat their own excrement, then they would only be eating themselves…so they wouldn’t hurt anything except their puny little brains.

    • Nicholas Evers says:

      I hesitated writing a rebut to any of the comments on this thread due to the fact that they were all so encumbered with ignorance, fraught with conjecture and ridden with fallacy, that it seemed a waste of my time. HOWEVER your comment stood out from the rest in its rampant stupidity. The mere fact that you could type out the words you did proves that nothing I write will change your horrendously twisted mind, but I the hopes that no one else will be infected by the dogmatic poison you spew I will reply.
      Implicit in the words you wrote was the assumption that animals and plants are alike in that neither feel pain, emotion, or conscious thought. This alone would be grounds for your execution if I were king. You are a virus, spreading ignorance, perpetuating toxic paradigms and contributing to the downfall of this beautiful world. Not to mention your view points have all been proven wrong in countless studies on animal behavior and emotional intelligence. Studies the result of which should have been self evident just by looking into the kind eyes of these vulnerable, frightened creatures. The dogmatic view that we are somehow superior to the other animals of this planet is short sighted ignorance in its most refined form. If anything we are inferior. Our species is affecting this planet much like a cancer affects a body. At our current rate, our children’s children will be left a dead wasteland of a world. That is something no other species has brought to fruition and if that makes us the superior, It is not a trophy I’m willing to accept.
      We as a race sit upon a throne fashioned from the bones of a dying world and you sir are the problem in its totality.
      It is my solemn hope that as a specieswe can combat the ignorance of contemporary society and start the process of undoing all the harm we have done. I love this planet and I only wish for harmony amongst all the animal species of which we are one.
      In the words of Pythagoras, “For as long as man massacres animals, they will kill one another. Indeed he who sows the seeds of murder and fear cannot reap joy and love”.
      Goodluck human race, I’m rooting for you.

  11. DSykes says:

    I wouldn’t worry, the premise sounds ridiculous, I expect it to be cancelled soon enough. Regardless of what PETA thinks or wants.

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