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Why would animal rights organisation PETA praise a film in which a group of apes are brutally attacked by humans? The answer is that War for the Planet of the Apes, the most recent movie in the franchise, used no real primates in its filming.
Yet while computer generated imagery is now good enough to create realistic looking animals on screen, some movies still employ actual non-human primates. In the last few years, primate actors have been used in major Hollywood films such as The Hangover Part II (2011), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
Animals - Set - Reality - Environments - People
Regardless of how these animals are treated on set, the reality is that they're being placed in unnatural environments and made to act for other people's amusement against their will. What's more, there's evidence that using real primates on screen actually encourages the illegal pet trade. It's estimated that more than 3,000 great apes and hundreds of thousands of other primates are traded as pets and bush meat each year.
A recent study of films released between 1990 and 2013 found 70 movies in which primate actors appeared. Chimpanzees, capuchins and old-world monkeys were the most commonly used animals. The study found that more than half the time they were shown among people, dressed up and performing human actions. It also found that primates on screen were "smiling" 19% of the time, something that primatologists widely recognise as an expression of fear or submission.
Actors - End - Time - Period - Welfare
Using primate actors was just as common at the end of the time period studied, even though much more had been learned about the complex welfare needs of these animals. The study concluded that using primates in film-making compromised their welfare by removing them from their social groups, training them to perform unnatural actions,...
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