At comeback shows...
Jason Gregory

15:51 25th March 2009

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Animal rights group PETA have expressed concern over reports Michael Jackson is planning to use live animals at his comeback gigs in London.

A report in today's Daily Mirror newspaper claimed the singer had asked organisers if he could ride onto stage on the back of an African Elephant at the O2 Arena gigs.

The animal would form part of an elaborate jungle section, which also includes a panther, three monkeys and a 100 Masai warriors, the newspaper claimed.

In a statement to Gigwise, a spokesperson for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) condemned Jackson's reported plans.

"Michael Jackson gave away his chimpanzee, and left giraffes, elephants and other animals in appalling, cramped conditions when he vacated the Neverland Ranch,” they told Gigwise.

“These exotic animals belong in Africa, not the O2 Arena among screaming fans, bright lights and stage explosions.

“These wild animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them when they are forced to perform under stressful conditions.

"Michael needs to learn to leave exotic animals alone."

According to the newspaper, organisers have expressed concern that Jackson's plans could break animal welfare laws.

Jackson's 50 shows at the O2 Arena, which begin on July 8th, have already sold out.

The singer will perform to over a million people during his London residency, which will run into 2010.

Jackson, now 50, has not performed a full concert since he was cleared of child molestation charges in 2005. His last full tour, entitled HIStory, took place in 1996 and '97.

Michael Jackson - This Is It

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