UPDATE: After immense pressure from PETA, advertisers, and supporters like you, NBC has made the decision to pull Animal Practice from its fall lineup.
The cheap laughs that NBC’s Animal Practice gets from putting a monkey in a lab coat come at a heavy cost for animals, especially for the show’s star, a capuchin monkey named Crystal. Monkeys like Crystal who are used for entertainment are taken away from their mothers shortly after birth—a practice that is deeply cruel to both the baby and the mother and that denies the infants the maternal care and nurturing that they need.
Animals who are thrust into the spotlight of Hollywood are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their lives. In fact, many of the telltale signs of animal distress and anxiety can be seen throughout NBC’s show. For example, the “smile” that Crystal exhibits on the program is actually an expression that typically indicates fear or aggression in capuchin monkeys. Capuchin expert Dr. Eduardo Ottoni states, “[S]ince we do not usually understand their communicative behaviors properly, fear, submission, or avoidance displays can easily be mistaken for ‘smiles.'”
Experts also warn that featuring animal actors often leads to a dangerous trend of misguided enthusiasts purchasing, and later discarding, the featured animals. Such was the case for dogs after the release of 101 Dalmatians and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, owls after the first Harry Potter movie, and even capuchin monkeys after Crystal was featured in The Hangover Part II.
To help us shed light on the cruelty inherent in forcing wild animals to perform for TV shows and movies, the ad firm Y&R New York created a series of ads poking fun at those in “the industry” who think it’s funny to put a monkey in a lab coat or a dress. In the ads, a clueless agent, Devon Dentler, and his eager-to-please assistant attempt to persuade various wild animals to work in Hollywood. Watch them now:
The way in which wild animals are forced to perform in commercials, movies, and TV shows is no laughing matter. Do your part to help animals by refusing to watch NBC’s Animal Practice, and take a moment to voice your concerns by contacting the chairman of NBC Entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, right now.