PETA Urges Kate McKinnon Not to Use Live Animals in Upcoming Scripted Tiger King Series
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is requesting that Kate McKinnon and Universal Content Productions not use live animals in the making of their upcoming scripted series about Tiger King‘s imprisoned former private zoo manager Joseph Maldonado-Passage — who goes by Joe Exotic.
On Tuesday, the animal rights organization sent letters to the actress and series producers explaining that the use of real animals in the show would defeat the purpose of trying to expose the shocking realities of private zoos, like Maldonado-Passage’s, in the upcoming series.
“Netflix’s Tiger King is calling critical attention to the abuse and neglect endured by big cats and other wild animals used for entertainment — progress that will be undone if real wild animals are used in Universal Content Production’s upcoming series,” PETA’s senior manager of animals in film and television, Lauren Thomasson, wrote in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
PETA said in a statement that they “don’t anticipate that a story about wild animal abuse would feature real animals, who suffer when used for television,” but the organization still called on the series to use “technology such as CGI or animatronics or existing footage” instead of featuring live animals.
In the letter to UCP and Wilshire Studios president Dawn Olmstead, as seen on The Wrap, Thomasson detailed several ways wild animals suffer when being used for entertainment.
“Most wild animals do everything that they can to avoid humans, but those used by trainers are forced into close proximity with their captors and are also deprived of their families, their freedom, and anything remotely natural to them,” she wrote.
She added: “When no longer deemed ‘useful,’ many animals used for film or TV are dumped at seedy roadside zoos, including the chimpanzees seen in Tiger King. Investigations have uncovered animals being whipped and kept in deplorable conditions by animal suppliers.”
Back in November, Universal Content Productions announced that an adaptation of the Wondery podcast Joe Exotic was in the works with the Saturday Night Live star, 36, portraying Joseph Maldonado-Passage’s nemesis, Carole Baskin, according to Variety.
The audio source material follows the two subjects, who have gained newfound notoriety with the arrival of Netflix‘s trending docu-series, Tiger King.
The stranger-than-fiction series on the story — which will chronicle the criminal spiral of the former Oklahoma zookeeper (Maldonado-Passage), who was convicted of concocting a murder-for-hire plot to kill his animal-rights activist rival (Baskin) — is still in development, according to TVLine and there is currently no network or streaming platform attached yet to the project.