What Cruelty Would Your Fave Disney Characters Face IRL?

We love watching legendary Disney characters of all different species thrive in their fictional universe. But have you ever wondered what life might be like for them in the real world? For many characters, it would be anything but magical.

Animals in Entertainment

Cruel businesses like circuses and roadside zoos exploit animals in order to make a profit. The story of Dumbo, who was made into a sideshow attraction, is a pretty legit depiction. Real elephants who perform in circuses today were torn away from their forest homes and their families. Handlers force them to do absurd tricks by poking and prodding them with bullhooks and electric prods. 💔

PETA-owned image of Dumbo Disney artwork

Icons like Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, on the other hand, have a much better sitch than their real-life counterparts. In stories, Pooh gets to explore the stunning Hundred Acre Wood with his besties and Tigger gets to bounce and pounce through life.

But in the real world, tigers and bears are top targets for exploitation. Roadside zoos keep bears in barren concrete pits, and circus trainers whip and beat tigers so they’ll perform dangerous tricks like jumping through flaming hoops. If Pooh and Tigger were real animals, there’s a good chance they’d be suffering in one of these cruel facilities.

PETA-owned image of Winnie the Pooh Disney artwork
PETA-owned image of Tigger Disney artwork

Animals Used in Laboratories

Mickey and Minnie thrive in the happiest place on Earth, but millions of real mice and other animals used for experimentation aren’t so lucky. They spend their lives imprisoned in laboratories, where workers treat them like objects.

In the forced swim test, experimenters drop mice and rats into cylinders of water to see how they’ll react. Want to take a guess how? If you think they’ll respond by frantically trying to escape, congrats! You got the right answer by using plain ol’ common sense instead of almost drowning tiny animals.

PETA-owned image of Mickey and Minnie mouse Disney artwork

In other pointless experiments, workers inject mice and rats with toxins to see how their bodies will react. Experimenters use the information from these tests to make assumptions about how the toxins would affect humans. One small prob: We have a very different genetic makeup, so the tests don’t reflect how we’d react. 🤦

PETA-owned image of Remy Disney artwork

If you’re in high school, there’s a chance that your school could be involved in speciesist exploitation, and if you’re in college, it’s even more likely. Colleges routinely imprison, torment, and kill animals in sick and pointless experiments. And every year, suppliers snatch millions of frogs from their homes and drown them in chemicals before selling them to schools for dissection. 🤢

As a compassionate student, you can make a huge difference. Take action for animals being abused in colleges, and learn how to lead the charge for humane dissection at your school.

PETA-owned image of Kermit Disney artwork

Animals Chained and Sold

Dogs in Disney movies are just vibing in their comfy homes, but some dogs in the real world spend their entire lives on the end of a chain with little or no shelter from the elements.

PETA-owned image of Dug Disney artwork

Dogs are social butterflies 🦋 who suffer when they’re isolated. Being chained makes socializing impossible, and tangled chains can keep dogs from reaching food, water, and shelter.

PETA-owned image of Lady and the Tramp Disney artwork
PETA-owned image of Slink Disney artwork

Every year, many dogs who are chained outside die of heatstroke or dehydration because they can’t escape the summer heat.

PETA-owned image of Pluto Disney artwork

Dogs on chains aren’t the only ones who suffer. Breeders treat dogs like merchandise and sacrifice their health, all for profit. Breeding them also fuels the companion animal overpopulation crisis and robs millions of animals in shelters of the chance at finding a loving home. To help reverse the breeding trend, get your animal companions spayed or neutered, always adopt animals, and never buy them from pet stores or breeders.

PETA-owned image of Dalmatians Disney artwork


We’re all about seeing animal characters get happy endings, so why not help animals IRL have happy lives, too?

Here’s a compassionate experiment you can try: Next time you watch an animated movie with an animal character, picture them in real animals’ positions. Imagine if humans were to inject Gus and Miss Bianca with toxins, slice open Princess Tiana in her frog form, kill Piglet and Nemo for food, pluck Donald and Daisy to stuff your pillows, force Rajah to perform tricks by whipping him, or keep Lady on a chain 24/7. 😨

It’s tragic to think about, right? The thing is, billions of animals just like them are being abused and killed in these and many other ways. If you’d spring into action to save Tigger or Tiana, extend that empathy to real-life animals. Pro tip: we can make the biggest impact by going vegan.

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

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