"The Walking Dead" Season 7 won't even premiere until late October, but it has already won an award ... for compassion. Who says the show is too violent? They're all "magic" pussy cats over there!

Every year, TWD shows its big trailer at Comic-Con, and this year the Season 7 preview included a look at King Ezekiel and his pet tiger, Shiva. They are both major characters from the comic book, and there was some skepticism about how AMC was going to get a tiger on the show. Well, comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman revealed, "There's no real tiger at all, it's all magic."

So, today, PETA issued a press release to honor TWD with an Innovation in Television Award, thanks to their use of CGI and animatronics instead of using a real tiger. UNLIKE "ZOO."

The "Zoo" shade is pretty strong in the release, patting "The Walking Dead" on the head while noting that the award comes as "CBS is under fire for using numerous wild animals, including a tiger and a polar bear, in its series 'Zoo.'" They added that more than 60,000 people have written to CBS so far to demand that "Zoo" stop using wild animals.

"Last season, 'Zoo' used big cats, a bear, wolves, and two baboons, among many other animals. CBS dropped plans to use infamous trainer Michael Hackenberger only after PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to use for entertainment' — alerted producers that he had been caught on camera mercilessly whipping a tiger. Hackenberger has since been charged with five counts of cruelty to animals."

PETA would like more shows to go the way of "The Walking Dead." As PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in the release:

"By choosing the excitement of cutting-edge technology instead of captive animals, 'The Walking Dead' has won the respect of everyone who objects to condemning wild animals to live chained and in cages as well as making them perform under the threat of a whip. PETA will press all television networks to follow AMC's compassionate lead."


So now "The Walking Dead" is the poster child for animal welfare. That's pretty cool. And we can't wait to see more cool stuff from Shiva and Ezekiel when Season 7 premieres on October 23.

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