A new online petition accuses the Animal Planet series “Call of the Wildman” of engaging in cruelty to animals, and is asking the network not to endanger animals in the name of ratings.
Citing an investigation by Mother Jones magazine, the petition — launched on Care2.com by a petitioner identified as Lauren S. — takes particular exception to the treatment of three baby raccoons who were used on the show. According to the petition, the raccoons “nearly died from being kept away from proper care by the production team.” According to Mother Jones, the raccoons arrived at a wildlife center in an “emaciated” condition. (One of the raccoons died, the petition says.)
The petition also claims that the show used an animal “that had been drugged with sedatives in violation of federal rules.”
The show — which centers on a Kentucky wildlife rescuer known as “Turtleman” — is also being accused of being rigged and scripted in the petition.
“These reality shows are not merely enhanced to emphasize the drama of the situation — they are scripted ahead of time to specifically involve certain species of animals in specific locations,” the petition reads. “The rest of the [Mother Jones] report includes other stories of animals being held, transported, and even sedated to fit the show’s parameters.”
The petition, which is directed at Animal Planet group president Marjorie Kaplan and the CEO of Sharp Entertainment, the production company for the show, has already surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures, amassing more than 12,000 signatures.
Sharp Entertainment told Mother Jones that, when the accusations of animal cruelty surfaced, the company implemented new written guidelines for the show’s field crew, and hired a licensed animal handler to be on set.
Animal Planet has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.