PETA urges Samsung to re-shoot commercial without buffaloes after animals escape

Buffaloes on the loose yesterday

Buffaloes on the loose yesterday

Animal rights charity PETA, short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has written to Samsung in protest over the use of animals in its commercials.

The complaint follows the escape of two water buffaloes from a Samsung TV ad shoot yesterday in Sydney. The animals were seen running around the suburb of Newton before they were captured.

The agency behind the shoot, Korea’s Cheil Worldwide, has apologised for the incident and said that no one was hurt and the animals are safe. But PETA has said, via a letter to Samsung shared with Mumbrella, that an ad that uses water buffalo “belongs in the rubbish bin”.

“It’s miraculous that no passers-by were injured, but there was property damage, traffic was snarled and one of the buffalo reportedly sustained some abrasions,” a PETA campaigner wrote.

The group also criticised Samsung for not having an animal handler present during filming.

The letter from PETA Australia reads:

I am writing on behalf of PETA Australia to ask that you withdraw plans to run a Samsung TV advertisement that was recently shot in Sydney, Australia, and that features two water buffalo who escaped during the production shoot. Using animals in commercials is never in their best interests. We hope you’ll agree this ad belongs in the rubbish bin.

Water buffalo, even those who have been domesticated, are skittish and sensitive animals. As their name implies, they prefer to spend most of their time submerged in tropical Asian waters. Forcing them into confusing and stressful situations is not only cruel but also endangers public safety. News reports indicate that these two frightened animals ran more than 2.5 kilometres down some of the city’s busiest streets. It’s miraculous that no passers-by were injured, but there was property damage, traffic was snarled and one of the buffalo reportedly sustained some abrasions.

A witness told reporters that one of the buffalo looked agitated and charged towards a handler who was attempting to corral the animal. An RSPCA spokesman said the film company did not have an animal welfare officer present during filming, which is all the more reason to scrap this ad.

Surely, Samsung does not want to be associated with cruelty to animals, and deciding to ditch this commercial will send a strong message that the company has high ethical standards. May I hear that Samsung will shoot a new, animal-free commercial?

PETA recently launched a campaign calling on ad agencies in Asia to stop using apes in ads. Agencies including Ogilvy, Singapore’s Formul8, Australia’s BMF and 303Lowe, and Hong Kong’s The Advertising Company and Well Advertising pledged to comply, but Cheil was not among them.


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