Anjelica Huston has decades of experience on the set, tracing back to watching her father, John, filming during her childhood. Given her experiences with animals on the set, we were excited when she sat down with us to discuss the abuses endured by great apes used in film, television, and advertising.
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have documented that chimpanzees and orangutans were denied even minimal “environmental enrichment” and veterinary care in times of illness. And undercover investigations have shown that trainers beat and scream at great apes in order to force them to perform dumb, confusing tricks, take after take, under the burning arc lights.
Chimpanzees can live to be 60 years old and orangutans can live to be 50, but they grow too strong to be handled around age 8. That’s when, useless to the industry, most are dumped in roadside hellholes, where they can live in barren cages, languishing amid their own waste or sold for use in experiments. There is no Hollywood actors’ retirement home for them. You can see Anjelica’s video about this business here:
Anjelica also spoke with us after the filming of the video, telling us how she grew so passionate about this issue, and why the abuse of great apes will never happen on her set:
I think without question that [when] one forcibly takes small simians, small apes away from their parents at [a young] age and manipulating them into some sort of fake response for the amusement of humans or indeed human children—it’s a very bad ethic. I remember seeing this terribly sad, lonely elephant in Bath, England, at the zoo in the pouring rain with nothing but a football for companionship, and thinking, “No child on Earth would want to see that. No child on Earth who understands the predicament of this animal could possibly approve it.”
Thanks, Anjelica, from us and from them!