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We Bought a Zoo, the upcoming 20th Century Fox drama starring Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon, is supposed to be an uplifting story about a father (Damon), who, with little to no experience, revitalizes a struggling zoo.
PETA, however, is not feeling the warm and fuzzies.
“We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge—just a lot of heart—is needed to run a zoo,” says PETA Vice President Lisa Lange.
PETA released a statement asking filmmaker Cameron Crowe and the studio to add a warning at the end of the film about the dangers of owning wildlife.
“As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren’t Disney characters. They have very special needs that all too often aren’t met by people who buy them on a whim because they think it would be ‘cool’ to own a tiger,” continued Lange in the statement.
Lange refers to the shooting of dozens of animals in Zanesville, Ohio, on Tuesday, after the animals were freed by their owner, who then committed suicide. Of the 56 animals that the man released, only a grizzly bear, two monkeys and three leopards were taken alive. The shocking event has cause the public and activists to demand stricter laws on the ownership of exotic animals.
PETA’s statement says that experts estimate that there could be up to 15,000 captive big cats in the U.S., the vast majority of whom are in private hands. The organization asks that all accompanying promotional materials for We Bought a Zoo also contain a warning about the dangers of wild animal ownership.
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