On March 6th a five foot long white-tipped shark flown from New York to Los Angeles to be used in the filming of a Kmart commercial exhibited signs of stress on the set and ultimately died. The shark was treated on set by the trainer and then taken to a specialist to no avail.
According to a source cited by the Los Angeles Times, Kmart’s request for a replacement shark to be brought out for the shoot was refused by the production company, Boxer Films, who instead substituted an animatronic hippopotamus.
The group American Humane Association (AHA) who certifies that “no animal was harmed in the making of a film” ,who receives funding from the film industry to monitor animal actors, and who is currently under fire for the fact that three horses died on set of the HBO show “Lucky” is investigating the matter.
Notwithstanding the vigor of an actual shoot, the travel back and forth to and from the location, the living in strange quarters, the strange climate, new water, and a host of unfamiliar human handlers, are all recipes for disaster.
Although the technology exists to use simulated animals in the entertainment industry the will to do so does not.
What could you buy in Kmart that is worth the life of a majestic shark?
Would it be worth it?