'Harry Potter' Has Been a Nightmare For Real-Life Owls

'Harry Potter' Has Been a Nightmare For Real-Life Owls

The once glorious Harry Potter franchise has arguably become the sad, half-inflated bouncy castle of pop-culture -- not nearly as fun as it once was. But at least one recent Potter-based outrage has had a positive outcome. Reportedly, Warner Brothers have confirmed that Universal Theme Parks will no longer use live owls at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is apparently a thing that was happening. Really guys? You can build an army of animatronic goblins and a giant fire-breathing dragon, but you can't whip up a few fake owls?

But this is just the latest example of the franchise's detrimental effect on owls. Recently, the hit stage show/plot hole-generator Harry Potter and the Cursed Child decided to use real owls in the show and only reversed their decision when one of them went rogue and flew into the audience

Even worse, the Potter series' popularity led to an increase in owl trafficking for, say, children's birthday parties and presumably sad adult birthday parties. And a lot of fans ended up adopting owls; according to one owl sanctuary, the demand for pet owls basically "doubled or tripled overnight." And as Harry-mania died down, those fans seemingly realized that owls aren't great pets, smell terrible, and probably aren't a viable alternative to the postal service -- so a ton of owls ended up being "abandoned." This has prompted concerns that a so-called "Harry Potter effect" could deplete wild owl populations in Indonesia, which would be "very concerning" for the ecosystem.

And we haven't even mentioned the fact that multiple bird handlers who supplied owls for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were later charged with "causing unnecessary suffering" to animals and keeping owls in "squalid ... poor conditions." While J.K. Rowling did advise people not to keep owls as pets, it's crazy to think that so much of this could have been avoided if she had just invented some kind of wizard email.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Warner Bros.


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