On Monday, a 15-year-old chimpanzee named Travis, who was kept as a "pet" by a woman in Connecticut, went on a rampage and mauled a visitor. Travis was stabbed multiple times, "pounded" with a shovel, and eventually shot to death.
A former "star" of Coca-Cola and Old Navy commercials and an episode of the Maury Povich Show, Travis was "raised almost like a child by this family," according to a police officer. Great—except that 200-pound chimpanzees aren't children.
Keeping any wild animal as a "pet" is inhumane and dangerous. There have been scores of incidents in which captive chimpanzees inflicted grave injuries on people. This tragedy illustrates the need for Connecticut to add primates to its ban on potentially dangerous animals—which already includes big cats, bears, and wolves—and we have asked Governor Rell to do that.
Academy Award–winning actor Anjelica Huston has spoken up in a moving public service announcement in behalf of great apes used for entertainment. Check it out below:
Thanks to companies like CareerBuilder and, more recently, Castrol Oil, whose ads show baby chimpanzees dressed up in clothes and "monkeying around" in offices and service stations, many people seem to think of chimpanzees as comical sub-human clowns. They aren't. They are wild animals who are torn away from their mothers at an obscenely young age and beaten into submission. By the time they are 8, they are big enough and strong enough to fight back, which earns them a one-way ticket to a cage in someone's basement or a concrete pit at a roadside zoo.
Neither Travis nor any other great ape belongs in show business. Who ends up happy in this story? Were those 30-second commercials really worth a lifetime of confinement in an unsuitable environment that eventually led to a woman's grave injury and Travis's death? Click here to take action on this issue.
Please, complain loudly any time you see a primate used in a movie, TV show, or advertisement.
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