By Hayden Wright
Katy Perry’s whirlwind Witness promotional schedule has apparently included filmed advertisements for Australian department store chain Myer. In one clip about a Witness world tour ticket giveaway, Perry playfully motions to her teacup poodle and says, “Let’s go chase some koalas, nugget!”
Sounds harmless, right? What if we told you that as few as 43,000 koalas are estimated to live in the wild and that hundreds are treated each year after dog attacks? It turns out that dogs-chasing-koalas is a pretty big conservation problem Down Under, and local animal rights activists were up in arms about Perry’s comment.
“This is just absolute ignorance from Perry and Myer, and inappropriate on so many levels” said Claire Madden, a veterinarian who’s worked at Australia Zoo and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. “Perry is a role model to so many young people, and this just destroys all the good work we do to try to encourage people not to let their dogs come into contact with koalas.”
Madden added, “Koalas attacked by dogs is one of their biggest threats and primary reasons for presenting to wildlife hospitals across Australia.”
Myer acknowledged the harmful message: “We are aware of comments in relation to Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour advertisement and a particular reference made to koalas. We are currently removing the material which references koalas.”
The ad (including its offending koala line) is still live on Myer’s YouTube page as of press time: