PETA has slammed Zac Efron for his role in the campaign and has called for the ad to be edited or reshot with the bear either replaced with CGI or outright removed.
Zac Efron has come under fire for filming an advertisement for Kodiak Cakes that features a captive bear.
The High School Musical star is the newly appointed chief brand officer for the food company and recently took to his Instagram to promote the clean eating brand in an ad campaign.
In one caption, Efron wrote: “Excited to announce I’ve joined @kodiakcaskes board of directors as Chief Brand Officer.
“I love this brand, their products and most of all their mission. I believe we can make a huge impact together.”
In one of the ads Efron posted on Instagram, he is seen making Kodiak pancakes while asking the bear a variety of questions and eliciting comic reactions from the beast.
However, vegan charity PETA has called Efron ‘hypocritical’ for filming the series of advertisements with Tank, a 27-year-old brown bear born in captivity and taken from a breeder at six weeks old.
According to the Kodiak Cakes, the advertisements are shot to raise awareness for wild animals and for every dollar that it receive from its “Keep It Wild” merchandise, another one will be sent to the Vital Ground Foundation – to help bears, other wildlife, and their habitats.
In response to the campaign, Debbie Metzler, PETA’s director of captive animal welfare said in a statement: “It’s hypocritical to exploit one animal to potentially help another.
“No true conservation group would force captive animals to perform tricks for the camera in order to raise awareness about their wild counterparts.”
The charity has called for the ad to be edited or reshot with the bear either replaced with CGI or removed.
Zac Efron’s animal advocacy
Aside from his recent ad controversy, Efron has used his influence to raise awareness for animal welfare in the past.
He starred alongside actor Ricky Gervais in an animated film created to end global animal testing called Save Ralph.
Produced by animal advocacy nonprofit Humane Society International (HSI), the film followed the story of Ralph, a rabbit who is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear as a result of extensive animal testing.
The movie won the Grand Prix for Good award at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival.
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