Zac Efron criticised by PETA for ad with performing bear

 Actor Zac Efron attends the screening of
Zac Efron has been criticised by PETA. (WireImage)

Zac Efron has come under fire from animal rights organisation PETA for appearing in an advert with a captive bear.

The High School Musical star was promoting Kodiak Cakes, a health foods brand, with a bear called Tank who was born in captivity and featured on the Discovery+ show Man Vs. Bear.

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In the ad, Tank, 27, appears to wave at the camera from behind Efron, 34.

Although the brand is donating some profits to conservation, PETA criticised the decision to feature a bear who had spent its entire life in captivity.

PETA foundation director of captive animal welfare Debbie Metzler told TMZ: "It’s hypocritical to exploit one animal to potentially help another.

"No true conservation group would ever force captive animals to perform tricks for the camera in order to raise awareness about their wild counterparts."

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She also added to Metro: "Tank, the bear used in Kodiak Cakes’ promotions, was sent to a Hollywood trainer by a breeder when he was only six weeks old – about the age when brown bears normally open their eyes. He likely never got the opportunity to see his mother, let alone spend up to three years playing, socialising, climbing, swimming, foraging, and roaming vast distances by her side, as he would have in nature.

"Treating Tank like a prop and not appreciating that, unlike Zac, he’ll never get to choose his roles is a form of speciesism.

"PETA urges Kodiak Cakes and Efron to focus on truly protecting wild bears by leaving Tank and any other performing animals out of their ads."

Zac Efron
The actor had teamed up with a health foods brand. (ABC via Getty Images)

PETA urged the brand to either take their ads down or replace Tank with a CGI bear, as well as putting pressure on Efron to support them.

Kodiak Cakes posted a clip of Efron laughing as Tank waved behind him on Instagram, writing: "First-ever limited-edition conservation drop that’ll drive you wild!

"We’ve teamed up with @zacefron, @draplin, and @vital_ground to preserve Grizzly Bear habitats and wild places through #KodiakKeepItWild.

"Go grab some great food and epic gear where 100% of online sales goes to supporting a grizzly cause!"

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