PETA has always been vocal in its opposition to keeping wild animals in captivity, but in the wake of the recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio, the animal rights organization is increasingly concerned with the message in the film, ‘We Bought a Zoo.’
The movie, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, is based on the book by Benjamin Mee who wrote about the rundown zoo that he and his family purchased and turned into Dartmoor Zoological Park. Now, PETA has taken issue with the movie for conveying the message that “you don’t even need any special knowledge to run a zoo – what you need is … a lot of heart,” as said in the trailer.
According to The Guardian, PETA is asking for a warning to be shown with the film informing viewers that owning a zoo and caring for wild animals is no easy task and often a dangerous one. PETA Vice Presidents Lisa Lange said, “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…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.”
In a press release, organization points out that these situations are dangerous for both the animals and the humans involved. “Since 1990, captive tigers have killed more than a dozen people nationwide, including four children, and injured at least 135 others. Many wild animals languish at the end of a chain or in cramped cages in backyards, basements, or garages; others die after being shuffled from one owner to the next. Captive wild animals can end up at roadside zoos, be sold at auctions, or be shot in canned hunts. Others animals, as in the recent case in Ohio, are simply turned loose.”