Jane Goodall met the team at WETA Digital when she was in New Zealand recently, and talked about stopping the use of live animals in the entertainment industry.
Goodall recently teamed with the movie effects company to highlight their highly realistic visual effects in the new movie War For The Planet Of The Apes.
According to the Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand, although performing chimpanzees may appear to happy, the truth about their welfare is often hidden.
▪ Chimpanzees are strikingly similar to humans. Our DNA is about 99% the same. Our behaviours and emotions are very similar. Like us, chimpanzees are sentient animals. That means, they have the capacity to experience pleasure and pain.
▪ Performing chimpanzees are taken from their mothers at a very young age. This causes tremendous emotional and psychological distress to the mother as well as to the infant.
▪ Trainers frequently use fear and physical discipline to control their apes and the degree of force increases as the apes grow. This continues until they’re about 8 years old and too dangerous to work with.
▪ When their careers are over, the luckier ones end up burdening sanctuaries. Others end up in poor conditions in roadside zoos or are used as breeders to continue the cycle, spending the rest of their lives (about 50 years) in a cage. There is no humane or sustainable retirement plan for them.
▪ Conditions during a commercial production may be monitored, but there is no way to guarantee how apes are treated when they are not “working”.
▪ The use of chimpanzees and other Great Apes in advertising and entertainment is contrived and creates misleading and degrading perceptions of these magnificent animals, who are seriously endangered in the wild.
▪ Research shows that people associate the use of chimpanzees in advertising with a healthy wild population. Public perception is that if chimpanzees were endangered, they would not be used for commercial purposes. Such perception is in stark contrast to the current situation in the wild, where Great Ape populations are seriously declining due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, disease, bush meat trade and the pet trade.
▪ Performing apes are often youngsters. Audiences see cute, cuddly human-like animals and might form the impression they are easily handled. Such images make young apes popular as pets in some countries.
As consumers we can choose not to buy products, share, or participate in media from those who make use of chimpanzees and great apes and together we can create a movement. Next time you see that “cute” YouTube video of a chimp dressed up, don’t share – say something!
Find out more here.