Animal Writes
From 29 August 2004 Issue

DawnWatch: Siegfried and Roy back in the news and on Prime Time TV on 8/31/04
From [email protected] 

Siegfried and Roy are back in the news. This week the press has reported:
-- Roy Horn's first pubic appearance sinnce the attack
-- The refusal of the show's producers tto give government investigators video footage of the attack and its preceding moments
-- The upcoming NBC animated series, &quuot;Father of the Pride" based on the Siegfried and Roy show.

You'll find USA Today's coverage of Feld Entertainment's refusal to release the footage at: 

The article headed, "Producer won't share tiger mauling video" opens with:
"The company that produced the Siegfried & Roy magic show has refused to turn over video to federal authorities investigating the tiger attack on illusionist Roy Horn, The Associated Press has learned.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to obtain video of the show through two recent subpoenas but Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment would not hand over the footage, a USDA source familiar with the case said Tuesday.

"Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, the USDA has been investigating the Oct. 3 attack in which Horn was mauled by a 300-pound tiger during a live performance at The Mirage hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

"Horn survived the attack but suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and the successful show closed.

"USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said Tuesday from Washington D.C., that the probe into the tiger attack remains open and confirmed that the show is under investigation for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act."

Other articles have reported that Feld is allowing the USDA to view the tape but will not release it to the agency's care. It has been reported that the company is worried about the footage being aired on the news. In the day or two immediately following the incident, some reports mentioned that Roy Horn had been hitting the tiger on the nose with a microphone just before the attack -- it is not tape that circus proponents would want to have aired widely.

The Thursday, August 26 edition of USA Today (LIFE; Pg. 9B) reports on the new NBC series in an article headed "Tooth and claw: NBC puts 'Pride' in prime time." You can read it at:

The show has received poor reviews. The current, September 3, edition of Entertainment Weekly heads its review "Animal Instinks" and gives the show a C+.

The Los Angeles Times has a particularly interesting large story about the new series on the front page of the Friday, August 27, Business section, (Page C1.) It is headed, "With 'Pride' Problems, NBC Finds It's a Jungle Out There;" and sub-headed "A mauling put the series in doubt. Its content has raised concerns."

It opens:
"Scripts had been written, voice tracks recorded and millions of dollars spent on DreamWorks Animation's upcoming TV comedy about the animals in Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas show. Then tragedy intruded.

"Roy Horn was mauled by a 600-pound Siberian tiger and dragged off the stage during an October performance. He was near death, his prognosis uncertain.

"Back at DreamWorks' facility in Glendale, executives were confronted with a delicate but inescapable decision: Should production continue on the computer animated show "Father of the Pride"?

Jeffrey Katzenberg is quoted explaining the theme of the show: "What would it be like to be one of these animals and to raise a family, and live in the Jungle Palace and go to work every day at a place where the CEOs are these two eccentric guys, Siegfried & Roy?"

We learn that after the October 3 attack "In Burbank, most NBC entertainment executives figured they should pull the plug. They worried that the mauling would make a satirical look at Siegfried & Roy and the animals seem in poor taste. Zucker, however, continued to champion the project, as did Katzenberg."

And we learn about an upcoming prime-time special focused on Horn's recovery called "Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle," hosted by Maria Shriver and scheduled to air Sept. 15.

The Times reports:
"For a while, NBC executives considered running the Shriver special on the same night as 'Father of the Pride.' They changed course after hundreds of advertisers were left cringing in their seats during NBC's presentation of its fall lineup in May."

You can read the full Los Angeles Times report at:,1,2088143.story 

Stories about Siegfried and Roy, and the new show, present perfect opportunities for letters to the editor regarding the suffering of wild animals in circuses. You'll find loads of information on that issue, including distressing circus animal training tapes at:

USA Today takes letters at:
This Tiny URL might work better:

The Los Angeles Times takes letters at: [email protected]

And please consider a letter to your local paper.

You'll find more information about the upcoming NBC show at:
You can view video excerpts. They include a line in which the head lion, after slapping one of the lionesses on the butt, says "God I love this business."

I doubt it.

NBC is taking email regarding the show at: [email protected]
The general feedback address (perhaps for feedback regarding the Shriver hosted special) is [email protected]

There is no institution in modern society more powerful than the media. Therefore, for the sake of the animals, animal advocates must do all that we can to befriend the media. It is never a good idea to send hostile notes to stations. However, a flood of polite email expressing much disappointment at the station's choice could be very useful. Stations take their feedback seriously.

Please write.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets.
You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at
To unsubscribe, go to  If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

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