Animal rights activists have deemed The Making of Harry Potter tour “cruel” and “demeaning” after undercover PETA video footage shows owls tethered to cages for extended periods of time while being subjected to flash photography, loud music, and constant handling. The animal rights group says that the treatment of these majestic birds goes against “every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books taught us.”
The Daily Mail reports that the Harry Potter tour is designed to give fans a close-up look at the props and animals used in the making of the blockbuster film. This includes numerous owls that can be seen locked in cages on display. The owls are removed by handlers to perform tricks and for members of the crowd to touch. PETA claims that the environment, which features flash photography, loud music, and the majority of the owl’s day spent in small confines, is detrimental to the owl’s well-being.
Dr. Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs at PETA India, says that the owls are being placed in a situation that goes entirely against their nature.
“Owls are wild, solitary, nocturnal predators, and it is completely against their nature to be tethered inside tiny cages, exposed to crowds, flash photography, loud noises and forced to perform ‘tricks’. These conditions have the potential to cause them tremendous stress. They don’t enjoy the company of humans or like to be touched by them, and they need to sleep during the day, not be harassed by visitors.”
This isn’t the first time that PETA has taken issue with the Harry Potter franchise’s use of owls. Back in 2009 and 2010, two separate animal trainers who provided owls for the Harry Potter series, were charged with animal cruelty charges. One trainer plead guilty to 17 counts of cruelty-to-animals offenses after “humane authorities found dozens of emaciated and dehydrated birds with severe injuries, overgrown beaks, and swollen and clubbed feet at the trainer’s facility.”
What do you think of PETA’s latest attack on the Harry Potter franchise and tour? Should the Harry Potter tour remove the live animals from display?