Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Rock of Ages hits a sour note by using a live baboon

Posted: 18 June 2012. Updated: 16 April 2015


Animal Defenders International has blasted the makers of the new movie “Rock of Ages” for using a live performing primate.

Even worse, the addition of the baboon to the movie is completely gratuitous, since this character was not present in the Broadway production from which the movie was adapted. The unfortunate animal was included at the request of star Tom Cruise (who plays the rockstar, Stacee Jaxx) and who apparently demanded to work with a “monkey” according to Vanity Fair , a decision which ADI considers to be thoughtless and irresponsible.

ADI has written to Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Barry Meyer, asking for a meeting to discuss the controversial use of the baboon and is calling for the movie production magnate to lead the industry in protecting animals used for entertainment.

ADI is also urging audiences to boycott the film and walk away from entertainment that uses animals, including movies with animal actors. Calling on studios like Warner Bros., ADI is asking them to use CGI—computer generated imagery—and other advanced technology to replace the use of animals in advertisement, television and movies.

Primates are intelligent, social mammals who in nature would live in complex societies where they show cooperation and compassion within their extended family. The performing animal trainer or supplier has to break this bond and make themselves the centre of a young primate’s universe. The baby is removed from its family and taught to depend upon the human trainer for social contact, nourishment, and approval; this ensures dependence, control and obedience. As a result, social deprivation and stress are inevitable consequences of the use of primates as performers and it can be seen when the animals develop abnormal behaviours.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “Our undercover investigations have shown that typically any discipline or abuse of captive animals used for entertainment tends to occur off set and behind the scenes, while the animals are being trained or kept isolated in their cages.

“The movie going public can’t be assured by ‘no animals were harmed’ endorsements because those guidelines only cover what happens on set. What is important is the animal’s whole life experience. Those who use performing animals must take responsibility for any suffering or deprivation that the animal has experienced during its whole lifetime.”

Rock of Ages received a “No Animals Were Harmed” endorsement from the American Humane Association. However movies like Water for Elephants also received the same high recommendation, which spurred outrage last year among many in the movie going public and made news headlines around the world after ADI released shocking undercover video footage of violent training sessions which occurred long before the elephant, Tai, was brought to the studio.

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