How Hollywood Casts Animals Into a Lifetime of Misery and Suffering

Published by PETA.

Chance never chose to be an actor. But now, he’s the one suffering following his 15 minutes of fame.

After his infamous role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, he wasn’t retired to an accredited sanctuary where he could live out his days with dignity. Instead, for years, Chance has been forced to perform ridiculous stunts for cheap laughs in a circus-style sideshow.

Many movie producers and advertisers alike have agreed that using chimpanzees in entertainment is inherently cruel. However, the few filmmakers still willing to exploit animals as a gimmick in their productions don’t seem to care once the director calls it a wrap. Chimpanzees and other wild animals can return to a life of neglect, loneliness, and, often, abuse—unlike a film’s human stars, who return to their luxurious homes and glamorous lifestyles.

The few chimpanzees still available for use in film and television are used by exhibitors with histories of citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which establishes only minimum guidelines for animal care.

Routinely, when animals grow old and can no longer perform or they reach adolescence and become stronger and more dangerous to humans, they’re discarded at shabby roadside zoos, where, like another chimpanzee who was used in Hollywood productions depicted here, they face decades of loneliness in barren cages.

Hollywood must be held responsible for what happens when the cameras stop rolling.

These days, Chance is forced to perform—while being yanked around by a rope wrapped around his neck—in regular shows.

When producers use a living animal as eye candy in a movie, they perpetuate the use of animals in inhumane circus sideshows that deny them everything that’s natural and important to them.

Chance is one of only a handful of chimpanzees still used in productions. He deserves to be in an accredited sanctuary where he can spend his days in a naturalistic habitat and never have to perform again. The Wolf of Wall Street has contributed to Chance’s heartbreaking circumstances, and countless other productions have sealed the fate for animals used in their films. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have the opportunity to do the right thing by helping to get Chance retired and pledging never again to use chimpanzees or other wild animals in their work. But so far, they’ve refused to speak up for him.

Choose Flicks With Compassion

Never support any production that uses wild animals. Until filmmakers and television producers see that using animals who live in neglectful conditions, are subjected to abusive training methods, and are forced to perform confusing tricks will cost them viewers, things won’t change.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind