“Rango,” an animated spaghetti western featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Isla Fisher, displaced Natalie Portman‘s “Black Swan” from the box office’s top slot this weekend. This tale of a chameleon who finds himself in the backwater of “Dirt” is bound to touch moviegoers’ soft spot for the reptile — but that’s precisely what PETA fears, especially in light of the film’s promotion with PetSmart.
According to PETA, PetSmart is offering a $10 discount on reptiles to those showing their “Rango” ticket stubs. The cash savings, in addition to the Rango-cuteness-overload, might increase the demand for chameleons — which may in turn, increase: the number of reptile eggs harmed in illegal transport; instances of death (or misery) for reptiles whose extraordinary captivity needs are not met; and the spread of disease in humans, including salmonellosis.
To prevent these afflictions to both humans and animals, PETA has posted an online action alert asking Paramount Pictures, the producer of “Rango,” to end the PetSmart promotion.
PetSmart must have anticipated some backlash from animal rights organizations, however. To coincide with Rango’s release date (March 4), PetSmart put out a press release about the responsibilities of owning exotics. The company will also offer a live Facebook chat on March 8 for families who seek additional information on pet reptiles and their care.
What are your thoughts here? Will PetSmart’s outreach be enough to explain the hazards of owning exotic pets?