Have you ever wondered what life is like for animals who appear in movies and TV shows? For some, it can be miserable. Like other animals who are used, a chimpanzee named Chance didn’t aspire to be famous in Hollywood. Now that his 15 minutes of fame are up, he’s tethered and yanked around by a leash wrapped around his neck and forced to perform ridiculous tricks.
Since his infamous role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Chance has been forced to perform tricks—including “playing basketball” and “talking”—for years in a circus-style sideshow.
NEWSFLASH: After being used for film and TV, chimpanzees and other animals are often returned to a life of performing stupid tricks or discarded at a roadside zoo.
Animals can endure an endless cycle of suffering when used for entertainment. Even though many movie producers agree that using chimpanzees in entertainment is cruel, the few who still exploit these animals do not take the necessary steps to ensure that they’re cared for after filming is over.
What Can Happen to Animals Used in Film and TV?
The few chimpanzees still available for use in film and television are used by exhibitors with histories of citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, which establishes only minimum guidelines for animal care.
Many chimpanzees used in productions have been dumped at shabby roadside zoos after they reached adolescence and became stronger and more dangerous to work with. Chubbs—the chimpanzee who appeared in the 2001 Planet of the Apes—was found living in a filthy cage, surviving on dog food and rotten produce.
Hollywood must be held responsible for what happens when the cameras stop rolling.
The Wolf of Wall Street has contributed to Chance’s heartbreaking situation. Scorsese and DiCaprio can do the right thing by helping to get Chance retired and pledging never again to use chimpanzees or other wild animals in their work. But so far, they’ve refused to speak up for him.
When producers use a living animal as eye candy in a movie, they also perpetuate the use of animals in inhumane circus sideshows.
Chance is one of only a handful of chimpanzees still used in productions. He deserves to be in an accredited sanctuary where he can spend his days in a naturalistic habitat and never have to perform again.
What You Can Do to Help Chance and Other Animals
Never support any production that uses wild animals. When you see animals on the big screen, think about what they experience before and after their debut. Animals are NOT ours to use for entertainment.