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Better Things creator, director, and star Pamela Adlon has exploited animals, including a capuchin monkey and a bear, on the show. Despite PETA's letters informing her about the cruelty and neglect endured by animals at training compounds and the public's mounting disapproval of using animals for entertainment (think Tiger King!), she continues to use wild animals as props. An owl, a chinchilla, and a snake each appeared in the current season, and a live mouse was even apparently fed to a snake.
Wild animals used for entertainment are typically separated from their mothers as infants, a practice that's cruel to both babies and mothers and denies the infants the maternal care and nurturing that they need for normal development. In nature, bears would typically spend years learning how to forage from their mother, devoting their days to swimming, digging, and roaming vast territories.
Using animals for film and TV productions sends an irresponsible message to viewers, normalizing the exploitation of wild animals for the sake of a cheap laugh. What audiences don't see is that behind the scenes, the often-frightened animals can endure excessive handling, crating for extended periods of time, and stressful transport to and from sets. When not "working," they're often kept in close confinement and deprived of opportunities for exercise, enrichment, and companionship—which poses a significant threat to their health, safety, and well-being. Abusive training techniques, including food deprivation, are commonly used to ensure that animals will perform on set in the fewest takes possible.
While Adlon carefully curates a progressive persona on social media, she simply hasn't walked the walk on Better Things. It's time that Hollywood recognized that all sentient beings deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. We can reject speciesism and act with integrity and consistency toward all living beings, and the first step is to recognize that every animal has the right to live free from human exploitation.
Use the form below to contact Adlon on Twitter and urge her to commit to never exploiting wild animals on Better Things or any other project going forward.