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Jon Stewart, is that a chimpanzee with you?

September 14, 2010
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
It could be a stuffed toy or a stage prop. It needs to be.

If not, Jon Stewart is guilty of perpetuating the use of an endangered specie for entertainment purposes.

If you don’t know, Jon Stewart hosts the popular “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on the Comedy cable channel.

The image of Stewart with a chimp is on the cover of his new book, “Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race.”

This use of chimpanzees in this manner in the United States has wound way down according to chimpcare.org. In fact, Project ChimpCARE reports there are only 19 classified as “trainer-entertainment” chimpanzees in the U.S.

Here’s a portion of what ChimpCARE has to say about the use of chimps:

“what many people do not know is that the majority of chimpanzees used in the entertainment industry are under the age of 10. Very young chimpanzees are used for these purposes because they are much easier to handle than adult chimpanzees.

“These chimpanzees are often taken from their mothers when they are only infants, sometimes a few days after birth, to make them more human-dependent. In the wild, a chimpanzee would stay with his or her family for at least 8 years. Entertainment chimpanzees are raised by humans and are taught to perform a range of behaviors and tricks, most of which are quite unnatural.

“When chimpanzees become adolescents (between 6 to 8 years old), they typically become too strong and unmanageable to work with under most circumstances.

“While in some cases former actors are maintained at the entertainment compound for future breeding, others may be discarded as no longer useful for the industry. These individuals can be very difficult to place because accredited zoological parks and legitimate sanctuaries are at or over capacity.

“Also, chimpanzees that are reared by humans often do not know how to interact with other chimpanzees, which makes integration into an appropriate social group difficult. Ex-actor chimpanzees often face a long and difficult future, long after their short careers are over.”

Jon Stewart, fess up.

-J. Speer

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