PETA blasts new CBS thriller 'Zoo' for use of wild animals

PETA blasts new CBS thriller 'Zoo' for use of wild animals
Nonso Anozie, left, and James Wolk star in "Zoo." (CBS Entertainment / TNS)

PETA has lashed out at the CBS summer series "Zoo," saying that the network and producers ignored the animal rights group's pleas to not exploit and inhumanely treat wild animals.

"By producing a show that exploits wild animals, including lions, CBS has proved that it's out of sync with public opinion at a time when people are shunning Sea World's captive orca sideshows, states and counties are passing laws banning wild animal acts and private ownership, and Ringling Bros. is taking elephants off the road," said PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet.

"Zoo," which premieres Tuesday, revolves around a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. The series is based on James Patterson's bestselling novel.

"Lions belong in the wild, not confined to tiny cages and forced to perform tricks, often under the threat of beatings," according to Peet's statement. "CBS should employ only humane and versatile computer-generated imagery, as so many other productions have done. PETA hopes 'Zoo' will be one of this summer's first cancellations."

Lisa Lange, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that she and other PETA officials met with several network executives and producers of "Zoo" to register their concerns about the project when it was announced. She said although producers agreed not to use chimpanzees or elephants, their concerns about the use of lions "fell on deaf ears."

"Lions never lose their instinct to be predators," Lange said. "They don't thrive in captivity. They need to be among their own."

The producers responded with a statement: "Everyone involved with 'Zoo' has tremendous respect for PETA and its cause. The care, safety and overall well-being of any animal on our set is a top priority of the production."

[FOR THE RECORD 4:14 P.M.] A previous version of this post erroroneously said that CBS responded to PETA's concerns.]

Twitter: @GeBraxton