Wizards Rejoice! New ‘Harry Potter’ Play Stops Using Live Owls

Posted by on June 9, 2016 | Permalink

When hotly anticipated new West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child previewed in London this week, a note of concern rang out among the otherwise positive reactions. Did an owl really escape backstage, reportedly causing chaos at the theatre? And why were real owls being used in the production in the first place?

Flying barn owl CC0

We contacted the play’s director and production company right away, as did several hundred of our supporters, to explain that wild animals, such as owls, are not actors and should never be forced to perform. And we were delighted when they got back to us to say that they’ve decided not to use live owls in any future performances.

This is a huge relief for all Harry Potter fans who care about animals. Owls are shy, sensitive and utterly unsuited to being put on display in a hot, noisy theatre, night after night. Treating them like props goes against every message of respect and kindness expressed in JK Rowling’s much-loved books.

The West End offers many innovative stage productions such as War Horse and The Lion King that create breathtaking effects without exploiting animals. It’s great news that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be following in this tradition of creative – and compassionate – entertainment.

Remember – if you ever see a stage show or circus using animals, please speak out. We’re making huge strides in preventing animals from being exploited for entertainment, and with your help, we’ll achieve many more victories.

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