‘Pirates’ Draws Fire Over Reports of Monkey Vomiting on Set

PETA Calls On Producer Jerry Bruckheimer to Commit to Never Using Wild Animals Again

For Immediate Release:
June 2, 2017

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – On the heels of reports that a capuchin monkey repeatedly projectile vomited on the Australian set of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—after a monkey bit a makeup artist in a previous on-set incident—PETA sent a letter today urging producer Jerry Bruckheimer to pledge not to use monkeys or other wild animals in future productions.

Early in the film’s development, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—called on producers to use computer-generated imagery instead of intelligent and highly social capuchins, noting that these animals’ complex physical and psychological needs can’t be met on any film set or in a training compound. PETA also warned that capuchins would suffer if shipped to Australia for filming and that animal supplier Joe Suffredini of Avian Entertainment has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. Some of his U.S. Department of Agriculture citations are for having filthy and inadequate enclosures, failing to supply adequate environmental enrichment, and not having an adequate program of veterinary care.

“Dead men may tell no tales, but reports of capuchins vomiting uncontrollably and biting a makeup artist on the Pirates of the Caribbean set speak for themselves,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is calling on the film’s producers to wise up, join the modern age of computer-generated imagery, and stop forcing sensitive wild animals to perform on camera.”

Previously, more than 100 marine animals died during the production of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Jerry Bruckheimer follows.

June 2, 2017

Dear Mr. Bruckheimer,

I’m writing to you today from PETA’s Animals in Film and Television Division following a disturbing report that a capuchin monkey who appeared in your film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was repeatedly projectile vomiting during shooting on a boat. This latest incident comes as no surprise, seeing as your production was also in the news after one of the monkeys bit a makeup artist on set—another telltale sign of a monkey in extreme distress.

Today, we’re urging you to pledge not to use monkeys or other wild animals in future productions.

We’ve written to you multiple times regarding the issues inherent in using capuchin monkeys for the film. We’ve pointed out that monkeys are intelligent, curious, and highly social animals with complex physical and psychological needs that can’t be met on any film set or in training compounds. Most monkeys used for entertainment are sold as infants by animal breeders and dealers who remove the babies from their mothers prematurely—a practice that’s cruel to both the baby and the mother and denies the infants the maternal care and nurturing that they need for normal development. In order to suppress natural behavior and ensure total control over these animals—who are dangerous and unpredictable—trainers typically use abusive training techniques.

In 2015, we also informed you about Joe Suffredini of Avian Entertainment—who reportedly provided the monkeys for the film—and his egregious track record when it comes to animal welfare. Avian Entertainment has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, which establishes only minimal guidelines for animal care. Avian Entertainment’s citations include the following:

  • Failing to provide an adequate written program of environmental enrichment for capuchin monkeys
  • Not having an adequate veterinary-care program for capuchin monkeys
  • Keeping capuchins in filthy enclosures (The resting platforms in the enclosures, which were also being used for feeding, had “an accumulation of hair, and food waste.”)
  • Housing capuchins in inadequate enclosures that didn’t meet the minimum size requirement for the animals, which is a mere 3 feet of floor space and 30 inches of height

Avian Entertainment was also previously cited for inadequate tuberculosis testing and vaccine protocols for the capuchins, an inadequate environmental-enrichment plan, and an inadequate perimeter fence (to prevent access from the public and the escape of the animals).

As you know, this isn’t the first time that one of your Pirates productions has come under fire for animal-welfare concerns, since more than 100 animal deaths occurred during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

May we please hear from you concerning this right away? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Julia Gallucci, M.S.

Primatologist

PETA

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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