Shark brought to Los Angeles for Kmart commercial dies

LOS ANGELES Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:51pm EDT

A whitetip shark is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). REUTERS/PETA/Handout

A whitetip shark is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Credit: Reuters/PETA/Handout

Related Topics

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A white tip shark shipped from New York and placed into an outdoor pool for a Kmart commercial in Los Angeles died after showing signs of distress, an official from the animal welfare group that monitored the production said on Thursday.

The American Humane Association (AHA), which certifies film and TV productions with animals, had a representative at the scene of the shoot on March 6 and it says everything possible was done to ensure the 5-foot (1.5 meter) shark's safety.

The shark's death follows longstanding criticism of the use of animals in Hollywood productions. Last year, the horse-racing show "Luck" on HBO was axed after the deaths of three horses used in the drama series.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which said it received details on the shark's death from two on-set whistleblowers, criticized the American Humane Association in a letter to the group over the shark's death.

"Sharks are sensitive animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and controlled environment," the PETA letter read. "Given the delicate nature of this species, why would the AHA approve the transport and use of this animal?"

The shark was placed into a 60,000 gallon (227 liter) outdoor tank in the Van Nuys suburb of Los Angeles, said Karen Rosa, senior adviser for the film and television unit of the American Humane Association. She added that was a good amount of water for the fish.

"We honestly don't know why the animal died. It was not being mistreated. It was not being harmed," Rosa said.

Early in the day, the shark seemed to be in good condition, but at one point the association representative noticed it showed signs of distress, Rosa said.

"As far as I know, it was immediately insisted upon that the animal receive specialized aquatic veterinarian care," she said.

Oxygen was pumped into the tank and the shark was given a shot of adrenaline to try to stabilize it before it was transferred to an aquatic compound for care, where it died the same day, Rosa said.

The shoot was for a Kmart commercial, but a representative for the retailer could not disclose the concept behind the television spot.

"We take this matter seriously and safety is always our paramount concern," Howard Riefs, a spokesman for Kmart owner Sears Holdings, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
janettetsmith wrote:
‘”We honestly don’t know why the animal died. It was not being mistreated. It was not being harmed,” Rosa said.’ Really, Karen. You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer are you. Well, let’s see, Karen, take a living creature with highly evolved senses out of its natural habitat, then transport it, then dump it in a pool of water that I’m thinking that shark probably didn’t feel was ‘a good amount of water’ compared to the ocean it was jerked out of so Kmart could exploit it in their commercial. What is wrong with you. Put yourself in a similar scenario and tell me your stress levels don’t skyrocket.

Mar 18, 2013 3:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.