PETA is not happy with CBS' upcoming summer series Zoo. Based on a novel by James Patterson, Zoo pits animals against humans as the animals "awaken" and begin to rise up against human control. The subject matter alone is enough to raise eyebrows for animal activists who fight against the notion that animals are inherently dangerous and violent without provocation, but what really has PETA's hackles up is the use of real animals in the show, rather than CGI.
In an official statement, PETA told The Hollywood Reporter, "Lions belong in the wild, not confined to tiny cages and forced to perform tricks, often under the threat of beatings. CBS should employ only humane and versatile computer-generated imagery, as so many other productions have done. PETA hopes Zoo will be one of this summer's first cancellations."
CBS has not responded to PETA's stance on their show, and there have been no reports of animals harmed during the making of the series. However, any time wild animals are used in film or television, especially when they are shown in such an aggressive and negative light, questions will be asked. While Zoo is pure escapist summer television not meant to be taken seriously, perhaps it would have been more appropriate to use CGI, but a recent interview between NOLA reporter Dave Walker and Zoo executive producer Michael Katleman made it clear that every precaution for the animals' safety was taken.
"In the [premiere], we have cats, we have a lion," Katleman told NOLA. "We built a CG lion just because we didn't know. We started way ahead of time. We built a CG lion, we built an animatronic lion, we brought two lions in. We take the approach in every action sequence, every animal sequence, of 'Let's use real animals.' Everyone is extremely concerned about the safety of the animals, our trainers are really safe. We don't do anything that would harm the animals in any way."
Zoo premieres Tuesday, June 30 at 9/8c on CBS.
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