Animal rights campaigners have urged producers working on a drama adaption of Netflix documentary Tiger King not to use wild creatures in their version.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) says using real animals in a TV drama would undermine any work highlighting the “abuse and neglect” shown in the docu-series.
Since its launch less than two weeks ago, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness has sparked a huge reaction from viewers, including celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Jared Leto and Chrissy Teigen, posting about the series online.
It follows the bizarre world of big cat breeding in the US, with an eccentric cast of real-life characters led by gun-toting polygamist Joe Exotic, an Oklahoma zoo owner whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage.
A dramatic adaptation is already in the works from Universal Content Productions, with Saturday Night Live comedian Kate McKinnon set to play animal rights activist and Exotic’s arch enemy Carole Baskin.
PETA has sent McKinnon and producers a letter saying the use of live animals in a drama would undermine Tiger King’s work exposing private zoos.
Lauren Thomasson, PETA’s senior manager of animals in film and television, said: “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.
“We hope you’ll agree that using technology such as CGI or animatronics or existing footage is the only conscionable way of depicting animals for your series.”
Baskin has also urged for the series to use CGI animals, according to reports in the US.
Sky News has contacted Universal Content Productions for comment.