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New Magic TV ad causes a stir

A national animal rights group, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has hit out at the use of a bear in a new TV commercial for London radio station Magic 105.4 to be launched tomorrow (Friday 5th May). CAPS campaigns against the captivity of animals for entertainment and has run several successful campaigns to persuade companies to stop using wild animals in advertising.

The ad features a grizzly bear named Koda who is portrayed as taking part in the radio station’s ‘Music is Money’ competition, hosted by Neil Fox. The 30-second advert was created by agency St Luke’s, which flew to Vancouver, Canada to film the bear at Creative Animal Talent, a company that has over 100 animals including bears, mountain lions and wolves and supplies them to the film industry.

A spokesman for Magic 105.4, told RadioToday.co.uk: “There are strict rules governing the use of animals in commercials which we adhered to, to the letter, in accordance with BACC guidelines. Koda was born in captivity and this commercial was filmed in his home country of Canada. There was a representative from the American Humane Association present on location ensuring that Koda’s welfare was paramount”.

Craig Redmond, Campaign Manager for CAPS commented: “It is amazing that some ad agencies still think that using live animals is acceptable and
that companies go along with this outdated idea. Fortunately, a growing number of companies have come to realise that the use of animals can
bring far more negative publicity than they expected and they have pledged not to use animals in the future. “Agencies still relying on animals need to go back to the drawing board and come up with some new ideas. With animal welfare issues of major importance to a growing section of the public, companies relying on captive wildlife are likely to find it puts off potential customers rather than attract them.”

CAPS opposes the use of animals in entertainment, including commercials and films, because of welfare and conservation concerns. Animals used in entertainment are often removed from their mothers at an early age so that they can get used to being handled for training. Their use can often result in the restrictions of natural behaviours and some animals are dumped on sanctuaries or zoos once they become too difficult to handle. Investigations of animal training establishments worldwide have revealed a catalogue of animal abuse.

In recent years, CAPS has persuaded companies such as the AA, Halfords, Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland to end their use of wild animals in
commercials.

While little is known about Koda’s background or current living conditions, Magic 105.4’s press release regarding the new TV campaign
states that Koda’s diet consists of 70lbs of salmon a day, “topped up with pizza, maple cookies and marshmallows” – hardly a natural diet for
a grizzly bear.

Leading conservationists have opposed the use of wild animals in commercials, stating that not only is their use exploitative, but it also diminishes their status in the public’s perception as a species requiring protection.

CAPS has written to Magic 105.4’s Managing Director Andria Vidler to express our concerns about the use of the bear.

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