Endemol sued for chicken deaths in French reality show
By Wade Paulsen, 06/28/2004
AFP reports that the French subsidiary of the reality-TV powerhouse Endemol was sued by a French animal-supply organization over the deaths of 16 chickens and the injury to a pony during the filming of a top-rated French reality show
Arts France, a company that supplies animals for use in entertainment programming, sued Endemol France over the injuries, which occurred during the filming of Ferme Celebrites (or, in English, Celebrity Farm). The show, which featured hapless D-list celebrities in a farm setting with no electricity or running water, was a smash in France, attracting about a third of all TV viewers for its finale last week.
Arts France's lawsuit alleges that a rooster was accidently crushed to death by a thrown bale of hay, 15 other chickens died after pecking and eating the non-slip covering on the floor of the set, and a pony was injured after slipping off a moving walkway and was subsequently unable to walk for three weeks. Arts France says that it cut off its participation in the series at the end of May due to the number of animal injuries, although it withheld filing the lawsuit until the series ended. Endemol had no comment on the litigation.
Apparently, Arts France recognizes the value of maximizing your publicity when you file; the finale of Celebrity Farm wouldn't have been top-rated had it been shrouded in controversy, and we (among others) probably wouldn't have written this story in that event.
We wonder what PETA (which protested the killing of a wild pig for food in Survivor: The Australian Outback) thinks about Endemol's "KFC" (Killing French Chickens) reality show. However, probably not too many Americans are surprised that the French would be preoccupied with the deaths of chickens.
After all, as the old joke goes:
Q. How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?
A. No one knows; it's never been tried.