To Actor John C. Reilly, for walking off the set of director Lars von Trier’s film “Manderlay” to protest the killing of a donkey for the shoot. He was replaced by a Slovenian actor. The film’s executive producer, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, retorted that the killing was entirely humane, and told the Ritzau news bureau: “We could probably kill six children for a film without anyone raising a fuss.”
To date, we have received no reports of children being murdered during the filming of Manderlay.
Soon after, Reilly traveled to Southern Oregon, speaking out against the logging of old growth forests. He publicly condemned a proposed timber sale which would make 800 acres available for logging. Reilly told the Associated Press, “I’m here to use some of the positive energy I’ve gotten from people from my career, the outpouring of support and love people have given me for my acting, to try to shed some light in a positive way.”
To Jennifer Smith, a Miami high school student, for saving the life of Miss Piggy, a pig she had raised through the Future Farmers of America youth-auction program. Jennifer endured the harassment of fellow students as she worked against a system designed to teach children to view animals as objects rather than individuals. After an attack by vandals left Miss Piggy with an infected wound, Jennifer nursed her friend back to health and arranged for her to be taken to a sanctuary in Tennessee. Jennifer told the
South Florida Sun Sentinel, “I can’t look at bacon anymore.”
To Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip “Mutts,” for a feature which focused attention on Canada’s seal hunt. In the full-color Sunday, May 16 edition of the popular strip, one cat asked, “Hey Shtinky, What’cha doin’?” The other cat replied, “I’m trying to stop thinking how helpless baby seals are still being brutally clubbed for their fur.”
To Peter Burwash, the former tennis professional and Davis cup champion, who now rallies people to embrace a pure vegetarian diet. Peter recently told the Kalao O Hawaii, the newspaper of the University of Hawaii, that “an athlete should have no meat, fish, poultry or eggs.” Burwash, winner of 19 singles and doubles titles during his professional tennis tour, once told ESPN, “becoming a vegetarian was the greatest moment in my life.”
To the Fox Network, for offering a fur coat as a prize on the blatantly sexist and offensive “reality” program, “The Swan.” The premise, using plastic surgery on women who compete in a “beauty” contest, was bad enough. Adding a fur coat to the prize list provided further indication that Fox television executives need to join the 21st Century.
Peter Cherin, President, CEO, and Director,
Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
1211 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Telephone: (212) 852-7111
Fax: (212) 852-7145
To Hertz Rental Car, for teaming up with the National Rifle Association. By mentioning a promotional offer featured on the main page of the NRA Web site, NRA members get special discounted rates. Customers who don’t belong to the nation’s largest prohunting organization are charged more to rent a vehicle.
Craig R. Koch, Chief Executive Officer
Hertz Worldwide Headquarters
225 Brae Boulevard
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
To Steve Irwin, host of the exploitive “Crocodile Hunter” series on Animal Planet, for his harassment of marine mammals in the Antarctic. The Australian Antarctic Division bans certain forms of close contact with nonhuman animals. Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment Minister, Sharman Stone, says the Environment Department and the Australian Antarctic Division are investigating a number of claims from people who have seen Irwin’s television promotion in the United States. “It’s suggested that he may have been jumping in and getting very close and personal with some whales,” Stone said. Related reports claim Irwin slid down hills with penguins. There is no telling how far Irwin will go for a stunt. In January, he was filmed feeding a crocodile with one arm while holding his baby, Bob, in the other.
P.O. Box 665
Florence, KY 41022
To send an E-mail to Animal Planet, visit the Discovery Web site for viewer feedback, at: extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations.
To the deliberately nameless owners of Tyson, the Skateboarding Bulldog, recently profiled in USA Today, for announcing that they are interested in breeding him. Friends of Animals wrote to the owners and asked them to reconsider this position. Tyson is a dog in Huntington, Calif., who is seen on Web site photographs and videos riding a skateboard down a city street. A section of the Web site contains feedback from visitors, many of whom comment they would like their own skateboarding bulldog.