IAR calls on Lady Gaga and other stars to stop using wild animals as props
International Animal Rescue is calling on celebrity figures to stop using wild animals as props. IAR's statement follows reports that Lady Gaga was bitten by a slow loris on the set of her latest music video. The star had apparently planned to use the loris in a scene of the shoot but, according to gigwise.com, it was “fired from the set in disgrace” following the incident. A baby kangaroo and an exotic goat had also been brought to the set but the California State Parks Department had vetoed their use.
Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of IAR, says: “The slow loris is a small, shy, nocturnal primate. It spends daylight hours sleeping in the shady branches of the rainforest and becomes active at night when it hunts for insects and other small prey. This poor creature must have been terrified by the noise and lights of the studio and reacted as it would in the wild to the presence of a predator – by taking a bite at it.
“It is inappropriate and cruel to place a wild animal of any kind in completely alien surroundings where it feels frightened and threatened and is also subjected to significant physical discomfort.
“The Javan slow loris is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world. The illegal trade in slow lorises has been fuelled by video clips of pet lorises posted on the internet and is pushing wild populations ever closer to extinction. A high profile figure like Lady Gaga could use her status to promote animal welfare and conservation issues, rather than using an endangered species as nothing more than a prop in her act.
“Instead she could be telling the world about the cruelty of the illegal wildlife trade in Indonesia: slow lorises have their teeth cut out by market traders to make them easier to handle. As a result more than half of them die an agonising death from infection or septicaemia before they are sold on.”
Last September pop star Rihanna caused an outcry among animal activists by taking a photo of herself with a slow loris in Thailand and posting it on Instagram. Her picture resulted in the arrest of the two wildlife traders in possession of the loris, although this clearly had not been the star’s intention when she posted it.
Alan Knight concludes: “We’re calling on celebrities to “drop the props” if they’re thinking of using wildlife in their acts. There is nothing cool or clever about exploiting wild animals in this way and genuine talent doesn’t need to use or abuse animals to be successful.”