Like clockwork, PETA has once again used the release of a highly-anticipated piece of entertainment as an opportunity to grandstand for their cause, this time using the recent second season premiere of Netflix’s The Witcher to condemn the series’ use of live animals over CGI alternatives.
In a statement released on December 22nd to their official website, PETA Animals in Film and Television Associate Director Lauren Thomasson asserted to the public that “Netflix’s The Witcher has a monster problem, in that producers apparently monstrously chose to exploit a live lemur and squirrel monkeys, among other animals, instead of using modern and humane computer-generated imagery.”
“The entertainment industry typically prematurely separates these animals from their mothers and thwarts their instinctual needs to explore, choose mates, raise young, and forage, which is why kind audiences should skip The Witcher and instead toss a coin to the many films and shows that feature only willing human performers,” the organization’s official statement concluded.
The animal rights organization further hammered home their denunciation of The Witcher on Twitter, posting later that same day, “From a lemur to an owl to a camel, #Netflix is apparently choosing to exploit the animals of the Continent while other productions are using CGI. Even in a fantasy world animals aren’t actors: leave them off screen.”
Alongside an accompanying video in which they provided examples of the series’ live animal actors, such as a the owl spoken to by Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and a parrot being sold in a Redanian marketplace as Yen and Cahir pass through.
PETA further wrote, “Even in the CGI-filled fantasy world of The Witcher, Netflix continues to exploit animals and use them as props. “
The @witchernetflix has a monster problem ❌ DON’T BINGE IT ❌
From a lemur to an owl to a camel, #Netflix is apparently choosing to exploit the animals of the Continent while other productions are using CGI. Even in a fantasy world animals aren’t actors: leave them off screen. pic.twitter.com/AcdGnJu2EK
— PETA (@peta) December 22, 2021
As noted above, this is far from the first time PETA has rode the coattails of a popular entertainment release in order to make a desperate plea for relevancy.
In September, as players eagerly awaited the then-upcoming reveal of Sora as the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter PETA petitioned Nintendo to add their mascot, Not A Nugget, to the game – despite the organization’s own history of accusing Nintendo of supporting and even promoting animal cruelty.
Likewise, May 2020 saw the group stage an in-game protest against Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ museum collection mechanic, requesting that Nintendo alter the game’s core mechanics and ‘free’ the fish on display across all players’ islands.
As of writing, Netflix has not responded to PETA’s criticisms.
It also appears that viewers are tuning out PETA rather than The Witcher Season 2 as Netflix’s Top 10 list for the week of December 13th to December 19th showed The Witcher Season 2 was viewed over 142.4 million hours in its premiere week.
While The Witcher Season 2 topped the charts, the show’s first season came in second place with 49.1 million hours viewed.
What do you make of PETA taking issue with the use of live animals in The Witcher’s second season? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below.