Quick recap for you, in case you missed it:
1) Late last summer, PETA contacted the producers of Speed Racer to urge them to use alternatives to live animals on set, after a chimpanzee bit a young actor.
2) Despite thousands of emails from individuals who were made aware of this abuse by PETA’s campaign, the Speed Racer team continued to use live animals—and another incident occurred in Germany: A representative of the American Humane Association (AHA) witnessed a trainer hitting a chimpanzee on set.
3) The AHA gave the movie an “unacceptable” rating on their site. No one noticed.
The question here is as follows: What is the point of having a representative of your organization on the sets of movies if the only thing they’re empowered to do is write a bad review on their website? Why not just send the guy from IWatchStuff.com? He could do all that and make it witty and interesting.
The other point here (which the AHA conveniently glosses over) is that most abuse occurs off the set, during training. Even when the AHA rates a movie “unacceptable,” as with this case, the animal trainer is allowed to continue working with the animal. And when the film-industry-funded AHA does rate a film “acceptable,” all that means is that no animals were harmed on the set while in plain sight of an AHA representative. Which is like saying you know your kids don’t smoke pot ’cuz you’ve never seen them doing it.
There are some things that can be done, though. PETA’s German affiliate has just filed a formal complaint in Potsdam calling for an immediate investigation and the filing of all appropriate charges against Greg Lille, the California-based animal trainer who assaulted the chimpanzee on the Speed Racer set. If Greg Lille is found to have violated German animal protection laws, it’ll be a lot harder for him to ever work with animals in the future. We’ll let you know how that turns out. And there’s plenty more information about PETA’s campaign to get animals out of show business for good on our No More Monkey Business website.
P.S. Speed Racer was a monumental box office disaster. 🙂