That's what some may say the Wall Street Journal did when they allowed actress Pamela Anderson to write an op-ed for their opinion journal. It's about the use/abuse of chimpanzees in television and movies. You make the call but be warned Pamela's hero is King Kong. What does the big ape think of her? Hmm.........
Open Post- Stop The ACLU, Wizbang, Jo's Cafe,
King Kong is my hero. He's big, muscular, sensitive, a terrific actor--and he's not real. The use of computer-generated imagery has really taken off in Hollywood. So why has Madison Avenue suddenly gone bananas for real apes? Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, with at least 95% of the same DNA. We're closer to them than they are to gorillas, so when I see chimpanzees being used as on-screen comedians, dressed up in silly costumes to sell credit cards, I think, Is this any way to treat a relative?
This issue has been on my mind a lot lately. It started when my kids went on a field trip to what was billed as an exotic animal refuge in Malibu. I excitedly tagged along only to find that it was like a shabby petting zoo that rents lions, tigers and a fascinating pair of chimpanzees to productions like "The Gong Show" to perform pathetic tricks under lights in front of loud crowds--conditions that are very stressful. I chose to have that kind of life; these animals didn't.
In the wild, baby chimpanzees and their mothers are inseparable. Moms carry babies with them as they forage and sleep in the same nests with them at night. Chimpanzees start climbing and eating on their own when they're 3 years old, but never stray far from mom. They're not independent until 7, so it broke my heart to learn that the chimpanzees used in ads and shows are babies, snatched from their mothers when they're infants so they'll be manageable in front of the camera. While it's possible to train animals using only kindness, as Jane Goodall pointed out, "this requires the kind of time and patience which is usually lacking in the fast moving world of 'show biz.' "
A primatologist who spent 14 months working undercover for a facility that trains great apes for film and TV saw trainers kick and punch the animals to make them obedient. Bright, energetic chimpanzees were reduced to zombies who cowered in fear of being struck. These same chimpanzees were later seen at an "animal sanctuary," which compassionate people were charged $200 to visit. Most abuse by "animal trainers" goes on behind closed doors, where the PR teams that dream up ad campaigns featuring costumed chimpanzees--and the consumers buying their products--never even see it.
That's just the beginning. By the time chimpanzees are 7, they're stronger than Vin Diesel and can pull your head off. When they can no longer be disciplined, they're abandoned like trash. Zoos don't want them, and the few sanctuaries for abused apes can't possibly take them all. So they're sold to tawdry attractions, or to breeders who churn out even more chimpanzee babies for "entertainment." A performing chimpanzee's life consists of about seven years of being lugged around sets and then 40 years of being caged, often in solitary confinement.
I've vowed never to be involved with a production that uses live apes because I don't want to be a part of this cruelty, and I bet you don't either. Let's drop the curtain on ape "actors" by sticking to animatronic animals or willing human performers for our ads. It's not like there's a shortage of struggling starlets willing to embarrass themselves if it means getting on TV.