The “Blackfish” Effect

I was back in The Atlantic today writing about the use of animals in film and television. Here’s an excerpt:

Lately, though, the issue has been making headlines with surprising frequency. Last year, HBO’s Luck was canceled amid protests over the deaths of two horses on set. Similarly, Peter Jackson was criticized for the deaths of up to 27 animals being used in The Hobbit. Now it appears we may be reaching a watershed moment, and on this particular issue, our society is working just how it is supposed to: with government and private industry responding meaningfully to changing social values.

Let’s start with government. In June, the United States Fish and Wildlife Services responded to a petition by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups by issuing a draft rule that would classify all chimpanzees as endangered; currently, there is a split listing that allows captive chimpanzees to be considered only threatened, allowing them to be used in entertainment, while wild chimpanzees are given the protection that comes with the status of “endangered.” If the new rule were enacted without any changes, it would make it extremely difficult to use chimpanzees in television, the movies, or in circuses (as well as in experimentation).

You can read the entire article here. Interested in previous posts about the intersection of animal rights and entertainment? Read my criticism of the depiction of animals in Parks and Recreation here; check out my list of movies you may have forgotten had pro-animal messages; lastly, read this terrific guest post on a forgotten animal rights classic by Reel Change reader Loredana Loy.

 

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