Sharks are frightening predators who (a) have barely evolved in the last 100 million years or so because they were already genetically perfect killing machines, and (b) are happy to kill humans for the egregious crime of “sorta lookin’ like a seal at chowtime,” but even with both of those factors going against them, this seems a little messed up. A five-foot white-tipped shark died earlier this month on the set of a Kmart commercial after being transported across the country and kept “in an above-ground pool in a Van Nuys backyard.” Now both Kmart and the American Humane Association (a non-profit group that “oversees the welfare of animals on sets”) are under fire for the way the whole situation went down.
“Sharks are sensitive animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and controlled environment,” Julia Gallucci, an animal behavior specialist for PETA, wrote in a Tuesday letter to an association official. “Given the delicate nature of this species, why would the AHA approve the transport and use of the animal?”
Citing a “whistle-blower” who worked on the commercial, Gallucci said in her letter that the production company, Boxer Films of Los Angeles, had recommended against using a live shark. When the animal died, Kmart asked that a second shark be brought on set, but the production company refused and replaced the animal with an animatronic hippopotamus, Gallucci alleged in her letter. [LA Times]
Considering the other major players here are PETA and a group of people who allegedly had a shark shipped across the country, kept it in a backyard pool in Van Nuys, and then had the balls to ask for a second one when that one died, I’d like to give a big shoutout to Boxer Films of Los Angeles for somehow ending up as the most reasonable party in this story by replying to Kmart’s request for a new shark with “Uhhh… how about a robot hippopotamus instead?”
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