Cameron Crowe's upcoming film, "We Bought A Zoo," features the story of a single dad, played by Matt Damon, who, searching for a way to bring his fractured family back together, purchases a house out in the country. What he doesn't realize, at first, is that the house comes with an entire private zoo. Loosely based on a true story, the zoo ends up bringing the family closer together, and bringing Damon love, in the alluring form of Scarlett Johansson.
Unfortunately for Crowe, what he intended to be a heartwarming story is coming out at the worst possible time, as far as privately owned zoo public relations are concerned.
Following this week's sad story of Ohio's Muskingum County Animal Farm, the private zoo whose owner let over 50 animals free and running toward inevitable deaths at the hands of sniping state authorities, PETA has called on Crowe to attach warning notices to both his film and all of its promotional materials.
"We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge--just a lot of heart--is needed to run a zoo," PETA Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement released Friday. "As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren't Disney characters. They have very special needs that all too often aren't met by people who buy them on a whim because they think it would be 'cool' to own a tiger."
PETA's statement estimates that there are over 15,000 big cats in private captivity in the United States, and noted animal activist and TV host Jack Hannah has pledged to help stop the private animal auctions that fuel these small, personal zoos. They should also work on ending the guns-for-monkey trade, if they really want to make a difference.