Target: Marjorie Kaplan, Group President of Animal Planet, Science Channel & Velocity
Goal: Urge Animal Planet to stop illegally importing and abusing coyotes
The trapping of an innocent animal who was not posing a threat to humans or the community, the transport of that animal in an insufficiently sized cage, and the abuse of that animal for television is not only immoral, it is also illegal. However, that is exactly what Animal Planet did to an unsuspecting coyote for the sake of their show, Call of the Wildman. While Animal Planet’s loose interpretation of animal welfare, abuse, and neglect are well documented; this incident represents a step further in their disregard for the creatures they show on television. Marjorie Kaplan, the president of Animal Planet, has the power to make sure every show on her network treats animals with the respect they deserve. She should be honoring that commitment to the animals, without whom there would be no Animal Planet.
According to Internet news outlet Mother Jones, on May 10, 2013, in Waddy Kentucky, a wild coyote was trapped and captured for use in a segment of the Animal Planet reality program Call of the Wildman. Pictures secured by Mother Jones show the animal cowering in terror in a cage that barely contains its body. Wildlife experts contacted by the news outlet had much to say on the conditions faced by the coyote. The article states:
“John J. Cox, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation biology, said that a coyote, innately fearful of humans, likely would not have entered such a trap of its own accord and more likely was forced inside. Given the acute stress to the animal that would result, he said, ‘I would only use a cage this size for transportation or holding purposes as a last resort.’”
Once this understandably traumatized coyote became sick and unresponsive, witnesses claim it lied down in its cage as though giving up; a new coyote was brought in as a replacement. However, it has been reported that this new coyote was brought in from nearby southern Ohio. It is illegal in Kentucky to import coyotes into the state unless given special permission by exemption. Animal Planet secured no such exemption. Their actions in the pursuit of the perfect shot for a reality show were not only immoral, they were illegal.
Marjorie Kaplan, the president of Animal Planet and several other networks in the Discovery media family, must ensure that all shows produced by her network comply with the strictest of animal welfare policies. Urge her today to commit her network to never harming an animal again.
Dear Marjorie Kaplan,
Evidence has come to light of animal abuse carried out during the production of an Animal Planet show. While filming Call of the Wildman a coyote was trapped and held in a tiny cage, barely larger than its own body, until it became ill and unresponsive. A new coyote was illegally imported from Ohio to the shooting location in Kentucky.
Without the majestic creatures you film there would be no Animal Planet. I am writing today to demand that you make a commitment to ensuring that no animals are harmed on any future Animal Planet shows.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Justin Johneson via wikimedia commons