It’s been the year of Disney remakes, and The Lion King may be the most exciting one yet! We know we’re excited—aren’t you? ?
Kids around the country are heading to the theaters to see this movie because of its star-studded cast and excellent soundtrack, but we’re most excited for its impressive visual effects that bring the animals of Pride Rock to life on screen—without using a single live animal.
Critics are just as obsessed with the film’s technology, saying they’ve “never seen anything like it.” To celebrate director Jon Favreau’s decision to keep live animals off his set and his use of technology, PETA is honoring him by sponsoring a rescued lion named Louie and asking Disney not to use live big cats in any future movies or TV shows. We’re also sending vegan lion-shaped chocolates to the film’s cast to thank them for lending their voices to these beautiful computer-generated animals.
Louie is a lion living at the Lions Tigers & Bears animal sanctuary in Alpine, California. He was given to the sanctuary by a Hollywood animal trainer after having been taken from his mother as a cub in South Africa and then forced to perform for entertainment. Instead of being made to perform for movies and TV, he now gets to live at a sanctuary, where he can roam, play, and get the excellent care that he deserves. ?
Louie was lucky in the end, but lots of other are physically and mentally abused at the hands of trainers. When they aren’t being forced to perform, many animals born into the industry spend their lives inside cramped, filthy cages and aren’t allowed to play, exercise, or be around others. Many young animals are even separated from their mothers—which is cruel to both the baby and the mother and doesn’t allow the infants to get the care and love that they need. The only way to protect animals in movies and TV shows is not to use them (and not to watch ones that do!) and to use computer-generated imagery or animatronics (remote-controlled robots!) instead.
Parent tip: Don’t let your family be fooled by American Humane’s (AH) “No Animals Were Harmed” stamp of approval. Despite AH’s “monitoring,” animals used in film and TV are routinely subjected to dangerous situations, which, in some cases, can lead to injuries or even death. AH doesn’t monitor preproduction training techniques or how the animals live when they’re not being used for filming. Steer clear of any film that uses live animals.