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From 2 November 2003 Issue

Jane Goodall Asks Film & Tv Industry Leaders To End Use Of Great Apes

LOS ANGELES, CA – Dr. Jane Goodall, widely recognized as one of the world’s most eminent primatologists, met with leaders of the Hollywood-based film and television industries in Beverly Hills on Tuesday [Oct. 14] to ask them to end the use of chimpanzees and other great apes as performers.

"The time has come to move beyond the misuse of creatures who are vulnerable to our exploitation precisely because they are so like us," Goodall said.

Dr. Goodall, who was joined by members of the Collaboratory, also introduced Sarah Baeckler, a young woman who spent the last 14 months working with Hollywood animal trainers, researching the often cruel and inhumane methods they use to make chimpanzees and other primates perform.

Baeckler’s testimony included numerous references to abusive behavior she observed while working at the Amazing Animal Actors training facility in Malibu. Baeckler logged over 1,000 hours at the facility, which features five chimpanzees among its menagerie. Baeckler said she saw trainers repeatedly kick, punch and beat chimps with hammers to make them obedient.

The Chimpanzee Collaboratory’s appeal kicked off the “Serving a Life Sentence… For Your Viewing Pleasure” campaign, which will seek to get actors, writers, directors and producers in Hollywood to cease the use of great apes in films, TV and advertising.

It is estimated that approximately 150 chimpanzees, orangutans and other great apes are held at entertainment training facilities in the U.S., yet the fact that most are “retired” after the age of eight condemns them to more than 50 years of idle imprisonment.

The Collaboratory is asking leaders in Hollywood to sign a pledge calling for an immediate end to the use of great apes in entertainment and stating that they will refuse to work on productions that do.

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