Save the Chimps, the largest privately funded chimpanzee sanctuary in the world, today condemned an exploitative new music video from the band The Offspring. In the video, unwilling chimpanzees are forced to wear human-like costumes, jewelry and wigs in ridiculous scenes that most likely subjected the animals to many hours of intensive labor under hot lights and otherwise stressful conditions. In one scene, a chimp can even be seen eating a prop paper dollar bill.
“This video is animal exploitation at its worst,” said Save the Chimps CEO Ana Paula Tavares. “While filming, chimps enslaved by the entertainment industry are usually forced to work for many hours on end — their behavior often manipulated through inhumane and fear-based ‘training’ that traumatizes the animals forever. When the cameras are off, the chimps are typically kept in cages, sometimes in isolation, for hours at a time. Once the chimps get too old to ‘perform,’ they are heartlessly sold off to roadside zoos or the pet trade.”
Tavares continued, “Using chimpanzees for entertainment isn’t just harmful, it’s downright immoral. It’s also entirely unnecessary with the advent of technology like CGI. The Offspring should apologize and stop using innocent chimpanzees in future promotion of this song and album.”
In an April 2021 guest column in Variety calling on Hollywood to ban live primates on film, Save the Chimps’ Director of Chimpanzee Behavior and Care Dr. Andrew Halloran, expanded on the harms inflicted on chimps forced into exploitation by the entertainment industry.
Halloran wrote, in part:
Abuse among animal handlers and “agents” is legendary. Training behind the scenes is severe in order to achieve obedience. Just as bad are the assumptions that fuel the exploitation: primates are happy acting as our silly sidekicks and an audience’s laughter is more important than the animal’s need to express their true nature and live freely. These depictions do even further harm by promoting the idea that wild animals are suitable pets.
Sadder still, once Hollywood primates age, they become too strong or too old to fulfill their roles — and they’re dumped by the wayside […] Many chimps wear the scars of their work. Isolation typically experienced by actors or test subjects makes a chimpanzee ill-equipped to socialize when finally introduced to peers.
Additional facts about chimpanzees forced into exploitation by the entertainment industry:
Chimpanzees bred for the entertainment industry are typically taken from their mothers at birth.
Chimpanzees used in entertainment are exclusively infants and juveniles, as chimps become impossible to control and handle around the age of 8 years old.
Once young chimpanzees reach maturity and become too strong to control, many are sold to unaccredited roadside zoos, and the pet trade.
One of the most commonly misinterpreted chimpanzee behaviors is their ’smile.‘ Though many chimps are featured in films, television, and greeting cards with grins that expose all their teeth, this is actually called a “fear grimace.” A fear grimace is an instinctual reaction to fear or intimidation.