The death of a 5-foot-long white-tipped shark during a Kmart commercial shoot has sparked outrage in the animal rights community. According to the LA Times, PETA has taken action against the American Humane Association and its policies for animals on set.
A shark was transported from New York to L.A. for a commercial shoot on March 6. When the animal's health took a nosedive during shooting, it was treated with with adrenaline and oxygen. The shark was eventually removed from the backyard pool in Van Nuys where the shoot was taking place and transported to Long Beach for examination. It died soon after.
PETA has been known for opposing against animals being used in film and television. After news broke about the shark's death, PETA has demanded answers from the AHA on its role. Animal behavioral specialist Julia Galluci said that PETA is calling on the AHA to review its guidelines for animals on set, demanding to know why a sensitive animal had to be transported across the country for a film shoot.
Galluci wrote in a letter:
Sharks are sensitive animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and controlled environment. Given the delicate nature of this species, why would the AHA approve the transport and use of the animal?
In the letter, Julia wrote that the production company, Boxer Films, was against using a shark for the shoot. When the animal died, Kmart requested a second one but replaced it with a hippopotamus after the production company refused.
On its Twitter page, PETA tweeted a response, saying, "If @Kmart truly care abt the shark who died on their set, they should commit 2 no longer using wild animals in ads. PERIOD. ET if u agree!"
AHA spokeswoman Jody Frisch said that the organization is looking into what caused the shark to die. "We're trying to be responsible and find out what the cause of death was," she said.
Kmart released a statement regarding the situation and said:
We take this matter seriously and safety is always our paramount concern. We have been advised by our agency that the production company responsible for this shoot worked with professional animal handlers and a representative of the American Humane Association for the purpose of monitoring the shark’s welfare. We are saddened by this incident.