Animal Planet’s top reality show "Call of the Wildman" is in hot water once again over allegations of animal mistreatment.
In January, Mother Jones published an investigation in which it found the show captured animals ahead of time and held them for days before releasing them into confined areas for the show’s star, Ernie “Wildman” Brown Jr., to seemingly rescue them.
The investigation found the show held animals in small cages and often refused to feed them prior to filming. Mother Jones also found the crew would occasionally drug large animals prior to filming in order to make it easier for Brown to catch them.
The show’s behind-the-scenes treatment of animals was so deceptively different than the pro-animal rights ethos depicted on screen that it led one anonymous crew member for the show to say, "My biggest issue with the show was that we portray it as: We rescue animals. In my opinion, the animals weren't under stress until we arrived."
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Mother Jones published an update recently to its original investigation. The update gives a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s inhumane and illegal treatment of coyotes during filming for one of last season’s episodes. The update shows the tiny cage that a coyote was trapped and starved in for days prior to filming. Here’s the caged coyote:
It gets worse. The coyote was allegedly so weak by the time producers were ready to film Brown “rescuing” it that it didn’t put up any struggle once it was released onto the filming location. To catch the dramatic struggle they desired, producers shipped in a coyote from Ohio to Kentucky. This is completely illegal under Kentucky law.
Animal Planet denies many, but not all, of the findings of the Mother Jones investigation. Here’s an excerpt from their statement on the issue:
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"The life and welfare of all animals is of paramount importance to Animal Planet. It is core to our ethos that every animal's life has value ... The notion that there is a culture of 'neglect' at the only network that is devoted to celebrating and protecting animals is absurd.”