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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Primates in TV and Film

Published 07/08/09
By Diana Oliver, Development Associate

It makes me so sad to see primates being used for entertainment in TV and Film.

I’ve seen a gibbon on 30 Rock, a chimp on Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, chimp in a Jack in the Box TV commercial, and more recently a capuchin monkey in Night at the Museum.

It is hard to ignore all we know about monkeys when watching these scenes. For example, did you know that a monkey showing all his/her teeth is actually grimacing and not smiling? Or did you know that when these animals are young their trainers may beat them with their fists, clubs, or shock devices? Even actor Ben Stiller recognized how distressed “actor” monkey Crystal was when filming Night at the Museum. In an interview, he states, “She wears a diaper and resents that she can't control herself.”

Many of these primate “actors” inevitably reach sexual maturity and are then sold to roadside zoos or private possession because the industry can no longer force them to perform tricks. Once in private possession any number of things can happen: extracting of the animals’ teeth, being locked in small cages for fear of attacks, you having objects thrown at you or worse having feces being tossed in your direction, and of course eventually being mauled.

Fortunately, the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary continues to rescue and rehabilitate primates, many from the entertainment industry, roadside zoos, and private possession. They are free to experience the sun on their faces, play in cool watering holes, groom other monkeys, feel the earth beneath their feet, and enjoy delicious and healthy fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and other monkey edibles. They make their own choices of how to spend their day now. And that couldn’t make me happier!

Now you can make a choice too! Host your own Monkey Business party and help raise awareness and funding for their daily care. I’ll help you every step of the way and provide you with the tools you need. You can either download tools (flyer and invite templates, games, credit card transaction sheets, and more) off our party site or call me at 916-447-3085 x215 and I’ll be happy to send you a starter kit.

A big thanks to Monkey Business party hosts, Laurie & Paislee Trees-Flores, Christine Bowers, Mary Owens, and Gwynndela Glitter. Thank you, ladies! Some fans of the Sanctuary have opted to host a virtual party, some have decided to just donate to the Sanctuary, and yet others have asked their local businesses to make a donation. It’s all about the creativity because they sky is the limit. We also help promote your parties through Action Alerts, our website, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace!

My husband and I created a Monkey Business party out of our birthdays and I’m happy to report that our friends and family helped us raise $582 for the Sanctuary! Won’t you join us by hosting a party of your very own? Or if unable to host, consider participating in one near you!

For the monkeys,


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