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Actor Jason Momoa is sparking outrage from animal activists after sharing an Instagram video that shows him feeding a bear a cookie from his mouth. Many people do almost anything for a fun or interesting post for their social media accounts. In fact, the desperation to get a cool photo with or of an exotic animal is harming endangered species around the world. Such posts fuel the cruel wildlife trades as well as captive animal attractions.
But Momoa isn’t an Instagram influencer or random person trying to get plenty of likes and comments. He’s a well-known actor who even spoke to the United Nations about climate change recently. His Instagram post, which was promotion for an upcoming film in which the bear “actor” is some how involved, brings up another important issue that animals face: the exploitation of wild animals on film sets.
If you are unaware of what wild animals face in captivity, then you might think the video posted by Momoa is adorable or even funny. But wild animals do not belong in captivity. As Bear Conservation explains, bears are “highly intelligent, wide-ranging animals” that suffer badly in captivity. They “display abnormal behaviours, including repetitive pacing, swaying from side to side or bar-biting.” PETA, who advocates for replacing live animals on film sets with the advanced technology proven to be able to replicate real animals on film, says bears — like other wild animals — become neurotic when confined.
It’s also important to remember that wild animals are not born knowing to do such tricks and stunts and would never perform them in the wild. Therefore, in order to be used on film sets, they must undergo training, like animals in circuses. There have been plenty of popular film sets where either animals or people were hurt because there was a wild animal on set. From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the deaths of animals on these movie sets only proves that there is no humane way to wild animals on movie sets.
If you want to speak up for animals used in films, sign this petition demanding that the American Humane Association (AHA) does more to prevent animal cruelty on film sets. AHA doles out the infamous disclaimer “no animals were harmed during the making of this film” even when it’s not true, and that is misleading to audiences.
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