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PCWS / Fauna Foundation Press Release re; Planet of the Apes

Release Date: August 12 2001

Primate Groups Calls For An End To Primates In Entertainment

Port Townsend, WA / Montreal, Canada -- The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society, a United States non-profit primate advocacy group, and the Fauna Foundation, a Canadian non-profit primate sanctuary, are calling for Hollywood to put an end to the cruel use of monkeys and apes in all forms of entertainment such as the recently released feature film, Planet of the Apes and television programs like Disney's The Jennie Project.

"The public sees a cute and furry chimp on the theater or television screen but have no idea what kind of psychological, and often physical, terror that being has suffered in order to provide a few hours of entertainment," says PCWS Executive Director, Hope Walker. Monkeys and apes used in entertainment, like the primates used in print and electronic ads, are taken from their mothers in infancy, and forced to perform unnatural behaviors and tricks, sometimes through intimidating and abusive means. As these animals approach adulthood, they become too strong and too difficult to control. Their "careers" end at a very early age, and they spend the rest of their lives caged, often in social isolation. "They cannot be sent to zoos because they simply do not know how to function normally within their species' society, and frankly there is no more room at the zoo inn. Some of these entertainment chimpanzees are sold into the exotic pet trade, while others are used as breeders in order to produce a new crop of infants to be used in entertainment and advertising. It is a cruel cycle that must be stopped," says Walker.

"The reasons I oppose the use of primates in entertainment are Annie, Billy Jo, Sue Ellen, Pablo, Donna Rae, Tom, and Yoko. These are the names of some of our chimpanzees -- chimpanzees who started off in entertainment but ended up in laboratories and after years of suffering, now live at Fauna," says Gloria Grow, co-founder of the Fauna Foundation, a Canadian sanctuary outside of Montreal. "All fifteen chimpanzees at Fauna were retired from a biomedical research laboratory. Eight of them were infected with the HIV virus. And more than one-third were involved in the entertainment industry."

PCWS and the Fauna Foundation believe that the use of non-human primates in entertainment or advertising is completely unnecessary. "What does a chimpanzee have to do with long distance? What does a monkey have to do with nacho chips or stereo equipment? Advertisers can find other means to promote products without exploiting non-human primates," says Walker. PCWS and Fauna believe that production companies have a responsibility to hire human actors rather than live animals. "There was absolutely no need to use live chimpanzees in Planet of the Apes. Untold millions were spent in order to dress humans up as orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Why then would it become necessary in the eyes of producers to use live animals?" asks Walker. "Simply put, it isn't and the primates pay for this cruel trade with their lives. If producers feel they must use non-human primates, they should avoid using live animals and utilize computer animation, animatronics and already-available archival images."

For more information regarding the use of non-human primates in entertainment, please see the PCWS website at or the Fauna Foundation website at


Additional Information

Robert (Bob) Dunn's Animal Services provided the primates for this feature film. To learn more about Mr. Dunn and his record with the United States Department of Agriculture, please see our Trainer Information Sheets page.