There’s lots of monkey business going on in Hollywood of late, and animal welfare activists are not pleased. Recently, the simian characters in the just released movie sequels of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hangover walked the red carpet dressed up like the stars, drawing much flak.
“There is nothing funny about how monkeys are forced to dance and jump. These monkeys are typically just a few years old. Training these young "actors" almost always includes physical abuse,” says a statement issued by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Crystal, the primate who features in The Hangover Part II, appeared for an event in California last week dressed in a lady gown, and waved at the paparazzi as if it was perfectly trained to. This, just weeks after the movie’s director, Todd Phillips, ran into trouble after he joked that the monkey had turned a cigarette addict after smoking in the film. The other monkey — Chiquita of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, did rounds of the red carpet in an elaborate gypsy getup a few days ago.
Closer home, parrot astro on TV gets notice.
It’s not just the use of monkeys in showbiz that’s turning animal lovers livid. A Delhi-based welfare group, Angel Eyes, has served a notice to some popular Indian TV channels, demanding an apology for the illegal possession and usage of parakeets and cockatiels for astrology-related shows. The group has also called for a total ban on any such usage, and proper rehabilitation and freedom of the caged birds.
“The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, prohibits the usage of these birds for tarot card picking and other such purposes. The Performing Animal Rules, which were introduced by the government’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2001, say it’s a must to seek prior permission before using animals on screen, but this rule, too, does not allow the use of parakeets at all. So, it must stop,” says Amrita Sharma, the group’s lawyer.
Member-activist Manta Sidhu says, “Such shows send a wrong message to viewers, who are unaware that indulging in such a practice is against the law.”