Mother Jones talked to several sources involved with the making of the show who confirmed that producers typically take animals from farms or trappers and then place them in fake rescue situations -- often putting stress on the animals. "My biggest issue with the show was that we portray it as: We rescue animals," said one of the sources. "In my opinion, the animals weren't under stress until we arrived."
Sharp Entertainment, the New York-based television production house who teamed up with Animal Planet for the show, admitted that some animals had been improperly handled, but placed the blame on third-party contractors and said that they have issued new welfare guidelines.
Sharp says that after the allegations came to light, it introduced new written guidelines for the field crew, and, for the first time, hired anon-set licensed animal handler when shooting began again aroundMay 22 last year.
But for the network, it's clear that an emphasis has been placed on entertaining television.
"We're not looking to be a natural history channel," Marjorie Kaplan, Animal Planet group president, told theNew York Times in 2008. "We're looking to be an entertainment destination."