PETA Urges No Live Animals for 'Tiger King'-Inspired Series

Tiger King- Murder, Mayhem and Madness - Netflix Publicity 2 -H 2020

The animal rights group in a letter asked Universal Content Productions to use "CGI or animatronics" in the upcoming limited series.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Tuesday asked Universal Content Productions and Kate McKinnon not to use live animals in their upcoming limited series about Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka "Joe Exotic," a big-cat exhibitor profiled in the Netflix breakout docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. 

"Netflix's Tiger King is calling critical attention to the abuse and neglect endured by big cats and other wild animals used for entertainment — progress that will be undone if real wild animals are used in Universal Content Production's upcoming series," PETA senior manager of animals in film and television Lauren Thomasson said Tuesday in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

"We hope you'll agree that using technology such as CGI or animatronics or existing footage is the only conscionable way of depicting animals for your series," she added.

McKinnon is set to star in the spinoff as Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist at the heart of Tiger King. The Netflix docuseries chronicles Joe Exotic's eventual arrest and conviction on multiple charges of animal abuse, as well as a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin.

PETA has a history with Joe Exotic's facility, having worked for years to shut down his Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. The animal rights group insists undercover work revealed tiger cubs had died at the park. 

"PETA managed to rescue nearly 50 animals from Joe Exotic's custody, all of whom are currently at reputable sanctuaries, and it also filed two lawsuits against facilities that acquired federally protected big-cat cubs from Joe Exotic for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)," the group said.