As the days count down toward the 2012 Olympic Games in London, media attention is gaining steam, with coverage of athletes competing for the chance to represent their countries, logistical and security preparations and animal abuse during the opening ceremonies.

Yes, that’s right. A group called the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has submitted a petition with 57,000 signatures calling on the Olympic Organizing Committee to drop the use of live animals during the celebratory spectacle scheduled for July 27.

The set, which the London Games official website describes as one of the largest ever built, will include meadows, fields and rivers, featuring families taking picnics, sport being played on the village green and farmers tilling the soil. But that’s not all. British farms often include livestock, and so will this production, with 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep, and three sheep dogs playing themselves before a stadium audience of 62,000 and a global TV audience expected to exceed a billion people.

There’s the problem, according to CAPS. “Subjecting animals to a crowd of 62,000 people, the noise, lights and atmosphere within the Olympic stadium is irresponsible and has the potential to seriously compromise the animals’ welfare,” the petition reads.