Blood sells but it shouldn't
I've written many essays about how media (print and film) often offers sensationalist and thoroughly misleading stories about various nonhuman animals (animals). Now, Animal Planet is guilty of putting forth sensationalist lies about wolves. Concerning gray wolves, Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense, alerted that they've recently written: “Razor sharp teeth, killer instincts, and senses so precise they hear your beating heart, and your fear. They’re on the hunt, and now with numbers growing out of control, they’re threatening humans like never before.”
These lies -- there have been only two verified accounts of wolves killing humans -- are to publicize Anmal Planet's series called Monster Week and their episode titled "Man-Eating Super Wolves." You can see the sensationalist trailer here.
As research in anthrozoology has clearly shown, our relationship with other animals is a complex and challenging affair and the least we should expect -- and demand -- is that media represent animals as they really are, not as some imagine them to be. And, surely, misleading advertisements and stories about animals should not be used to make money or to induce fear when, indeed, existing data show that they are not dangerous at all. Shame on Animal Planet. Blood and lies should not sell.
Please contact Animal Planet to protest their reprehensible misrepresentation of wolves and other animals and please find something else to do when these programs air. You can contact their viewer relations department by clicking here and their ethics hotline here. This surely is a matter of ethics.
Note: I've been told the best way to leave a comment is to call 1-571-262-4899 that is set up for such matters. For more on Animal Planet please see "Animal Abuse at Animal Planet: Drugs, Death, and Neglect."
Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation (see also), and Why dogs hump and bees get depressed (see also). Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistence will be published fall 2014. (marcbekoff.com; @MarcBekoff