A performing monkey was used on ‘The Jonathan Ross Show’ this week (25/08/2012). This petition is to urge you to please stop using performing primates in your programmes, as there are important welfare and conservation issues associated with the use of non-human primates in entertainment.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 48% of primate species are threatened with extinction – being either endangered or critically endangered. The use of primates for entertainment gives viewers the incorrect impression there are no conservation risks associated with taking primates from the wild. The removal of primates from their wild habitats for use in entertainment is one factor contributing to the extinction risk for primate species. The use of primates in entertainment has also been shown to increase the demand for primates as pets.
There are also welfare issues associated with using primates in entertainment, as investigations by numerous animal protection charities have revealed. As Animal Defenders International state: “The animals are taken away from their mothers at an early age in order to bond them with humans and make them reliant upon humans rather than their own kind. All affection and approval available to the young animal is only through the human trainer. For such intelligent and sensitive creatures, this sets up psychological and behavioural problems for the remainder of their lives.
“These animals are deprived of all the normal social and mental stimulation that monkeys enjoy. They live in barren environments and are effectively simply stored until wanted for a performance. Their compliance is gained through withdrawal of affection, food and/or water and when considered necessary, sometimes violence.”
Although this video (narrated by Stephen Fry) tells the story of a monkey left disabled and traumatised by its life as a pet, many of the issues are similar to those faced by primates in entertainment: http://www.wildfutures.org/joeys-story/
More information in the use of primates in entertainment is available at: http://www.4apes.com/ent/
Research paper on how the media's portrayl of chimpanzees influences public attitudes to conservation
We, of course, have no problem with you airing programmes which show primates in their wild environments or in captive situations with a strong conservation or welfare message.
Please consider not using performing non-human primates in your programmes in future.
This petition is supported by the following:
Ape Action Africa
Barbary Macaque Conservation in the Rif & Siân Waters
Captive Animals’ Protection Society
Great Primate Handshake