PETA Uses ‘The Walking Dead’ As An Example Of How CBS Should Create Their Animals In ‘Zoo’

As Zoo gets renewed by CBS for a third season, animal activist group PETA have decided to go head to head with the network over its use of animals on set. This is not the first time CBS and PETA have clashed over Zoo, a TV series based on the 2012 bestseller by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.

According to Variety, CBS announced the Season 3 renewal of Zoo at the Television Critics Association press tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, this week. While this is exciting news for fans of the TV series, for animal activist group PETA, it means potential war.

AMC's The Walking Dead Season 7 Shiva the tiger is CGI unlike some of the animals used in CBS' Zoo
While real animals are regularly used on set of many television shows and movies, PETA believes, in this day and age of CGI (computer-generated imagery), there is no excuse for shows such as Zoo to use live animals anymore. In fact, since AMC released their trailer for Season 7 of The Walking Dead at the recent San Diego Comic-Con, PETA have used this as proof live animals are no longer required to make movies or TV shows.

PETA’s senior vice president, Lisa Lange, voiced her opinion on the matter on Wednesday, according to Deadline.

“If The Walking Dead can use animatronics and computer-generated imagery to stun audiences with the image of a tiger and not use a real animal, so can Zoo.

PETA was so impressed with AMC for computer-generating Shiva the tiger (which is, potentially, a pivotal character for the show) in their upcoming Season 7 of The Walking Dead that they even gave the show an “Innovation in Television” award.

With their award announcement, they further criticized CBS and Zoo for the use of real animals in their show.

“Past Zoo episodes have included big cats, wolves, baboons, and even a polar bear—a threatened species that’s particularly prone to intense psychological distress when forced to live in captivity.”

They also pointed out the fact that if it were not for PETA revealing to CBS that animal trainer Michael Hackenberger had been caught on camera “savagely whipping a tiger,” CBS may have collaborated with him on the set of Zoo, further endangering animal lives and well-being.

Even though CBS has renewed Zoo for a third season, the ratings for Season 2 were not as great as expected, so PETA have used the rating draw card as incentive for CBS to drop the use of real animals in Zoo.

“With rampant animal abuse in the industry, the network is obligated to do its part to help end it, and if it agrees to use only CGI next season, PETA staff, members and supporters will be the first to tune in,” Lisa Lange explained further.

PETA's ad campaign against CBS Zoo TV series
CBS, however, has always maintained they put the safety and welfare of their animals on the set of Zoo first. When PETA issued an ad campaign that coincided with the Season 2 premiere of Zoo, showing a CGI chimpanzee restrained with strips of films, CBS insisted animal welfare was of “high priority.” CBS also stated that they had “the greatest respect for PETA and its cause.”

However, even though replacing live animal use in TV and movie work is commendable (and certainly preferable), CGI does come with its own set of issues; cost and time being at the top of the list. While many networks and studios can afford both, for smaller studios, it is sometimes just not plausible. Also, while CGI is an excellent way of replacing the use of live animals in shows such as Zoo, many viewers get turned off by shows and movies with bad CGI. But, if it means no animals are exploited or injured (or worse) during production, these issues need to be addressed when networks and studios are weighing up the pros and cons of using CGI versus live animals.

Are you looking forward to Season 3 of CBS’s Zoo, or are you tuning out and supporting PETA because of the animal use on set? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

[Image via CBS]