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Katy Perry responds to PETA criticism of animal use in 'Roar' video

Katy Perry in
PETA growled at Katy Perry's use of animals in her video, but she charged back with support from the American Humane Association.YouTube

Katy Perry's video for "Roar" is an animal-filled frolic through the jungle in which the pop star befriends a monkey, showers with the assistance of an elephant, brushes a crocodile's teeth and "roars" a tiger into submission. But while it looks like the jungle buddies are having fun partying in paradise with Perry, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) alleges that casting animals for a music video traumatizes them. To emphasize its point, the organization sent a letter to the video's directors and producers, protesting their use of real animals in the clip.

"What you may not know — as most people do not — is that animals used for entertainment in film and television endure horrific cruelty and suffer from extreme confinement and violent training methods," PETA's Merrilee Burke writes in a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. Furthermore, Burke explains, a set filled with bright lights, heavy equipment and crowds can traumatize an animal or spur stress and anxiousness in unfamiliar and frightening situations.

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Perry, an animal lover herself and longtime advocate for animal rights, has responded by obtaining her own letter from the American Humane Association, which had representatives present at each day of the three-day shoot.

It reads:

American Humane Association was on set for the filming of the above referenced music video, which used an elephant, a monkey, birds and a tiger. After reviewing the reports, we believe that the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media were followed and that no animal was harmed in the making of this music video.

The response seems to back up what onset sources describe as a "slow pace" to the shoot, during which everything was done by the book. "The animals dictated the pace of the shoot," an insider tells THR.

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Meanwhile, PETA, which has also taken such stars as Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and "Jersey Shore's" Snooki and J-WOWW to task for alleged animal mistreatment, is also calling out Serengeti Ranch, one of the animal providers, which is based in Texas, for having received 13 citations since 2001 for things like failing to provide elephants with adequate shade, "buildup of dog excreta near an enclosure (and) unprotected food items that pose a risk to the health of animals."

Primates, in particular, PETA adds, "are often isolated from other primates, and physical abuse is common during pre-production training, where no monitors are present."

Burke urges the directors to consider using CGI animals for future projects and asks to meet to discuss the issue.