Pop Goes The News — Animal rights group PETA has released more secretly-recorded video to support its allegation last month that a Canadian animal trainer is abusive.
“At the end of the day, it’s only through disincentives that you can absolutely force an animal to do something,” Michael Hackenberger of the Bowmanville Zoological Park explains.
In the video, he is seen talking about wolves. “You smack ‘em and they generally fold like a house of cards,” Hackenberger explains. “And that’s the beauty.”
He demonstrates how to use a “meat stick” on the animals because they are “afraid of it.”
Hackenberger says striking animals with the stick is “very effective.”
He adds: “This is what we use on everything.”
In the newly-posted video, someone identified as a Bowmanville Zoo administrator allegedly says of the animals: “You throw them down on the ground so they know who’s boss. That’s basically Michael’s way or working all the animals.”
In December, PETA posted video showing Hackenberger training a Siberian tiger named Uno. In it, he appears to whip the animal several times.
“I like hitting him in the face. And the paws, being on the rock, when you hit him, it’s like a vice,” he explains. “It stings more.”
Hackenberger posted a rebuttal video claiming he only hit the tiger twice.
“But after that … I do not strike the animal,” he says. “You can see I’m not hitting the animal, he’s not responding. A tiger will not lay on the ground and allow itself to be struck as this videotape suggests.”
The PETA video sparked investigations by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In the footage released this week, Hackenberger explains that the whip he uses on the tiger can either “caress” the animals “or I can carve my initials in their side.”
According to its website, the Bowmanville Zoo maintains “the largest stable of trained animals in North America” and is a leading supplier of animal talent to the television, movie and entertainment industry.”
The zoo’s tiger Jonas was used in 2012’s Life of Pi, which was partly filmed in Montreal.