R.I.P Cheeseface: 9 Famous Animals Who Met Tragic Deaths

More

The giraffe in Zookeeper is the latest cinematic creature to meet an untimely demise

animal stars tragedy.jpg

Sony Pictures

Summer comedies are more often meant to be nothing more than light-hearted fluff, an excuse for parents to sit down and zone out with their kids in an air-conditioned room for a few hours. But the Kevin James’ PG comedy Zookeeper, released today, has attracted some uncharacteristically heavy controversy for a movie about an Average Joe who talks to animals.

The film has been under fire for some time from animal activists who claim that the animal actors were abused and forced to live in poor conditions on set. In 2009, when the movie was being filmed, PETA alleged that a giraffe that died on the set had been forced to live in a 20-foot by 20-foot stall, with barely enough room to lie down. Activists also cited the film’s use of an elephant named Tai, whose handling company was filmed by Animal Defenders International in 2005 using abusive training methods that included hooks and electric prods. Tai also appeared in this year’s Robert Pattinson/Reese Witherspoon film, Water for Elephants, which was met with similar protests.

The use of animals in Hollywood films has long been a source of controversy, with opponents claiming that even when kept in comparatively good conditions, performing can be stressful and traumatizing for animals. They have urged studios to use computer generated animals, citing examples like the Narnia franchise, which opted to "fake it" without suffering a loss at the box office.

While abuse can’t be proved in every case, fame does seem to lead many animals to uncharacteristically bizarre, tragic, and gruesome deaths. Take a look at this list of animal celebrities who reached the stars but fell back to earth, hard.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Daniel D. Snyder is a writer based in New Mexico.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

How have stories changed in the age of social media? The minds behind House of Cards, This American Life, and The Moth discuss.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In