PETA calls for people who 'care about animals' to boycott Zoo movie

Art Parkinson and Nellie star in Zoo. Picture by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.
Áine Quinn

A LEADING animal rights charity has called for people who "care about animals" to boycott a film about efforts made to save a Belfast Zoo elephant during the Second World War, which premiered earlier this week.

Zoo, which is based on the true story of efforts to save the animal during the Belfast Blitz in 1941, features a number of wild animals including a baby elephant.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who wrote to the producers of Zoo when it was announced in 2016 urging them not to use live animals, spoke of their disappointment at the decision to include an elephant, named Nellie, who currently resides in Canada's African Lion Safari Park.

Jennifer White, a spokeswoman for PETA, said: "Animals who are used in film and television are often kept in bleak conditions.

"Some are taken from their homes in the wild, and most are kept in extreme confinement and deprived of all that's natural and important to them, including maternal bonding, the companionship of others of their kind, and a spacious, enriching environment."

In recent years, producers of films such as The Jungle Book and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, have decided against using live animals in their film-making, in favour of Computer Generated Imagery.

Elisa Allen, director of PETA said: "Animals aren't actors, and since today's film-makers have access to computer-generated imagery, animatronics, and other cutting-edge technology, there's simply no excuse for subjecting animals to the risk of physical harm, the confusing environment of a production set – including bright lights and loud, scary noises – and the stress of training, travel, and confinement."

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