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Vancouver-based 'zoo' TV show targeted for cruelty in PETA ad blitz

CBS series continues to use wild animals from controversial trainers

See video
Canadian zoo owner caught on live TV calling baboon a foul word. Video courtesy YouTube.

CBS-TV's Zoo—which films in Vancouver—is being targeted for cruelty in a massive PETA ad campaign for using captive wild animals.

Handcuffed with strips of film, a computer-generated chimpanzee appears today in the Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal in the PETA ad, available here, that proclaims, "Some Shows Hold More Than an Audience Captive. CBS: Use CGI to Free All Animals From 'Zoo.'"

The campaign comes just days in advance of the second-season premiere of the CBS series, which moved forward with plans to use big cats—even though executives met with PETA and learned that wild animals used on TV shows are torn away from their mothers, often beaten during training, and locked inside tiny cages. 

Zoo is also reportedly planning to use wolves, reindeer, horses, and buffalo.

"If The Jungle Book can create entire realistic animal kingdoms with CGI, then CBS can clearly make its show without exploiting any live animals," says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.

"PETA is calling on the network to switch entirely to affordable, accessible, humane, and versatile technology—and stop using animals who are caged, whipped, and denied everything that's natural and important to them."

Last season, Zoo used big cats, a bear, wolves, and two baboons, among many other animals. It also employed Steve Martin's WorkingWildlife—Martin is one of the only trainers who still uses chimpanzees, and his many violations of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act include locking apes in barren cages for up to 18 hours a day.

CBS dropped plans to use infamous trainer Michael Hackenberger only after PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment"—alerted producers that he had been caught on camera mercilessly whipping a tiger.

Hackenberger has since been charged with five counts of cruelty to animals.

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