INTERNATIONAL NEWS: PETA doesn't spew venom at pop star, butremains critical of show

LOS ANGELES: Britney Spears raised the dander of the People for the

Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at last week's MTV Video Music

Awards, but managed to escape the controversy with just a few


Debuting her new single, I'm a Slave 4 U, Spears performed onstage with

a yellow python wrapped across her shoulders and a caged tiger behind

her. PETA protested the use of animals for entertainment purposes,

although campaign director Dan Matthews defended Spears herself, despite

the organization's formal written protest to the pop star delivered the

day before the show.

"I'm sure she's just getting some bad advice and she's young," said

Matthews. "We're not outraged at her."

Matthews confessed that he doubted if Spears even received the letter,

as it was sent so close to the time of her performance.

PETA plans on following up with the errant diva by sending her

"undercover tapes" of wild animals being trained. "We have no doubt that

when she learns about how animals are starved and beaten, she will never

use them again," Matthews said.

Despite the MTV incident, Spears is known to be an animal lover, and has

donated images of herself to PETA's anti-leather campaign, as well two

pictures to a silent auction held last weekend. Those photos sold for

$120 and $175.

This is not Spears' only run-in with animal rights activists, though.

Erroneous reports in July said that three dogs owned by the singer would

be included in the sale of her Louisiana mansion, prompting the SPCA to

publicly remind her that pets are a long-term commitment. However, a

PETA inquiry into that situation found that the dogs actually belonged

to the property's caretakers.

Her label, Jive Records, handled Spears' press for the MTV event. Lisa

Kasteler of Wolf Kasteler PR in LA handles the pop star's personal

press. Neither was available for comment.

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