Oh, PETA. You haters of horse-sex, and cannibals of Gillian Anderson’s leg. Whatever we think of The Walking Dead Season 7 and its many questions, the AMC drama is apparently making PETA happy with its “magic” use of CG and animatronics to bring to life that famous tiger from the Season 7 trailer.

As we’d known for months, The Walking Dead used a combination of animatronics and CGI to depict “Shiva,” the tiger companion to upcoming character Ezekiel (Khary Payton), rather than risk incorporating any real animal. PETA certainly commends the series as much, offering an “Innovation in Television” award (PETA gives awards?), but mainly to spite CBS’ Zoo:

By choosing the excitement of cutting-edge technology instead of captive animals, The Walking Dead has won the respect of everyone who objects to condemning wild animals to live chained and in cages as well as making them perform under the threat of a whip. PETA will press all television networks to follow AMC’s compassionate lead.

The announcement derisively contrasts The Walking Dead with that of Zoo for using actual animals (or at least having the budget to), incorporating polar bears and a tiger of its own in production. “More than 60,000 people have written to CBS to demand that Zoo stop using wild animals,” it adds. “Last season, Zoo used big cats, a bear, wolves, and two baboons, among many other animals”

Creator Robert Kirkman attributed the CG tiger to executive producer Gale Ann Hurd (and his own fear), telling /Film:

Gale pointed out that it’s not particularly humane to have a live tiger on set, and is also very dangerous for the actors. So I was like great, no real tiger, I can still come to set. That sounds awesome. Because I would not have gone to set if there had been a real tiger anywhere near set. So there’s no real tiger involved. It’s all magic.

For the moment at least, The Walking Dead has shown nothing of Shiva beyond a stationary shot of the great beast, but you know they’re bound to let her off the leash eventually. Will the CG and animatronic look net such praise then?

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