Fail Mail wrote about a “safari boss” taking his chimps to see an IMAX screening of the new film, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” I also found this video about the chimps’ excursion to the South Carolina movie theatre:
The “safari boss,” Dr. Bhagavan Antle (he goes by numerous names) is a very controversial figure. I first came across him when I read Animal Underworld by Alan Green. (For what it’s worth, here’s Doc’s rebuttal to Green: http://bhagavanantle.net/.) Here’s some more links about him:
- blog post via Tumblr, detailing his work and controversies with his big cat organization, T.I.G.E.R.S;
- 911animalabuse.com profile on Dr. Antle. Here’s an example:
In August 2010 one his tigers escaped, sending visitors scattering. Fortunately the tiger was recaptured without anyone being attacked, although a news report indicated four people were treated for minor injuries. Antle was cited by USDA twice in the months following the escape for continuing to keep tigers in an inadequate enclosure. It appears from our research that by January 2012 he had transferred ownership of the animals to another licensee and did not renew his permits to keep animals in Florida.
So yeah. Reading that about Antle – assuming those are factual allegations — makes me uneasy. And, of course, I don’t agree with taking wild animals like chimps to movie theatres. Not to mention, the irony of taking a wild animal to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is yet another fantastic installment in the film franchise. Dawn is about treating chimps with respect, as they are our kin. Forcing chimps to wear pants and engage in human activities, such as eating junk food at a movie theaterm seems more like a media stunt for human entertainment and less like the respect and care that chimps actually deserve.
Also: Where is the chimps’ mother?
The news described the chimps’ trip to the movie theater as an “adorable moment.” I don’t know — I just find it sad.