The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Thursday ordered an investigation and demanded that Kmart stop using wild animals in their ads after a five-foot-long white tipped shark suddenly died after the filming of an Kmart commercial in an above-ground pool at a Van Nuys home.
The shark died March 6 after being shipped from New York to Los Angeles.
An on-set veterinarian injected the shark with adrenaline and gave the animal oxygen after it begin showing signs of stress during the filming in the pool.
It was later removed from the pool and transported to an aquatic compound, where it died a short time later that afternoon.
PETA said it had sent a letter to Kmart asking the company to stop using wild animals in ads, and a letter to the American Humane Association (AHA) detailing an unnamed whistleblower's account of the death, who worked on the commercial.
The signs of stress were observed when actors jumped in and out of the pool with the shark, said Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president.
"Sharks are delicate animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and controlled environment," PETA said.
The AHA, which is in charge of protecting animals during filming, shut down production an hour after the distress signs were seen.
"The shark appeared to be healthy upon our arrival and during filming, which involved only the animal swimming normally in a 60,000-gallon tank and exhibiting natural behaviors," said AHA.
The shark’s death is under investigation, according to a Kmart spokesman.
This type of shark normally spends most of its time in the upper layer of the ocean, to a depth of 490 feet and prefers off-shore, deep-ocean areas.