LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 5-foot-long shark died after being put in an above-ground pool at a Los Angeles home where a Kmart commercial was being filmed, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The white-tipped shark died March 6 after being shipped from New York to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times said.
The shark was injected with adrenaline and received oxygen after it showed signs of stress. It was later removed from the pool and died that afternoon.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had sent a letter to Kmart asking it to stop using wild animals in ads, and a letter to the American Humane Association detailing an unnamed whistleblower's account of the death.
The whistleblower worked on the commercial, PETA said.
The signs of stress were observed when actors jumped in and out of the pool with the shark, said Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president.
The humane association, which is in charge of protecting animals during filming, shut down production an hour after the distress signs were seen.
Messages left by The Associated Press for the association and Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings Corp., were not immediately returned. A Kmart spokesman told the Times the incident was being investigated.
"Again, it appears that no one on set is protecting animals from exploitation, suffering, and death," Lange said.
Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, said the system needs to be changed.
"Instead of entrusting the safety of animal actors to a private agency whose services are paid for by the very industry that would exploit them, let us simply call for an end of using animals as living, breathing props for our entertainment," she said.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com