Robert Irwin being investigated over "cruel treatment" of animals
In what seems impossible to believe, Robert Irwin has been named in a proposed animal cruelty investigation following his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Animal rights organisation PETA has called for a ban on wild animals on the US TV show, saying that celebrities and other members of the public were not licensed to interact with the wildlife.
In a statement, PETA noted that Irwin handled various animals – including an alligator, a camel, and servals – for the show’s segments on various occasions.
The organisation also mentioned actor Kate Beckinsale, who poked an African bullfrog, and Game of Thrones star Jacob Anderson, who was locked in a phone booth with a python snake on the show.
“Animals suffer every time they’re exposed to the chaos of a television set and passed around like props,” said PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange.
The organisation called for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to investigate exhibitor Grant Kemmerer, who supplied the animals to the NBC show, as well as other shows, including The Rachael Ray Show, The Wendy Williams Show and Good Morning America.
It said that Kemmerer should be banned from obtaining future permits for breaching the city’s health code.
“PETA is calling on authorities to throw the book at this hack for brazenly violating – on camera – the clear conditions of his exhibitor permits,” Lange said.
However, Kemmerer denied that he violated his permit requirements by allowing the animals to appear on the program.
“[Host Jimmy] Fallon or Robert Irwin are not the public,” Kemmerer told Page Six.
“It was deemed even people in the audience are not looked at as the public in the eyes of the USDA, because they’re paying for an entertainment show and expect this type of show … You’re not going to pull out a random animal and hope it goes OK.”
Kemmerer said Fallon was a willing participant.
“We are alleviating any potential risk, and for Jimmy Fallon, he’s not going into this unknowing.
“He is a participating person in this. They’re having Robert on there to bring the animals.”