A 5-foot-long white-tipped shark died after being placed in a pool in a Van Nuys backyard for the filming of a Kmart commercial, according to report on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' blog.
The shark's death prompted PETA to criticize the American Humane Association, which is the group charged with overseeing the welfare of animals on film and television sets. The animal was reportedly shipped from New York for the shoot.
"Sharks are sensitive animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and controlled environment," the PETA blog report said. "Sharks have exceptional sensory systems that allow them to detect minute electrical fields and sense low-frequency sounds and vibrations. The noise and chaos of a commercial shoot is a very stressful environment for these sensitive animals."
Jody Frisch, spokeswoman for the AHA, reported that the group has asked a third party to investigate the death, according to the Los Angeles Times. But a PETA specialist was still highly critical of the AHA.
"Given the delicate nature of this species, why would the AHA approve the transport and use of the animal?" Julia Gallucci, an animal behavior specialist for PETA, wrote in a Tuesday letter to an AHA official, according to the Times.
PETA's blog pointed out that CGI and animatronic sharks have been in use for films and television for over 40 years, dating back to Jaws, and asked Kmart to adopt a policy against using wild animals in its commercials.