The radical animal rights group PETA has demanded that the New York City Department of Health investigate The Tonight Show for allowing celebrities to play with animals onstage.
The group called foul with NBC’s contract with Grant Kemmerer of Wild World of Animals to bring animals to the broadcast and allow celebrities such as Kate Beckinsale and Jacob Anderson to handle them, according to PageSix.
Animals brought to the show include a miniature horse, an African bullfrog, a python, a camel, an alligator, a millipede, and many more.
PETA sent a letter to the city’s health department claiming that the animals are “suffering” by being put on stage to be pawed by host Jimmy Fallon and his celebrity guests.
“Animals suffer every time they’re exposed to the chaos of a television set and passed around like props,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange told Page Six. “PETA is calling on authorities to throw the book at this hack for brazenly violating — on camera — the clear conditions of his exhibitor permits.”
PETA is demanding that the city step in and bar Kemmerer from bringing any more animals to the show.
For its part, producers of the late-night show insist that the safety and welfare of the animals is always a top priority. “The safety of animals is important to everyone at the show and we take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety,” a source inside the production told the paper.
The Tonight Show declined to make an official statement about PETA’s charges.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.