On Speciesism and Animal Actors
I saw The Dark Knight on Friday and when the Rottweilers came on screen I thought, "People who have Rottweilers sure must do a lot of damage control because of movies like this." (There are vicious, man-eating Rottweilers in the film, and in fact one gets through Batman’s gear to injure him–that’s how vicious and powerful Rottweilers are. . . . I guess.) I’ve got it easy. In Charlie Wilson’s War, when Julia Roberts as socialite Joanne Herring glides across the screen flanked by these Greyhounds, and her home has paintings of her with the regal hounds, no one leaves the theater thinking, "Boy, I’m crossing to the other side of the street the next time I see one of those things coming my way."
Poor Rottweilers. Speciesism takes many forms and works for some sentient nonhumans, and against others.
And whether all of the dogs were fake (some were these dogs) doesn’t really matter, as the damage is done for the breed. (Though I’d much rather fake dogs be used.)
One thing’s for certain regarding animal actors: "Hollywood’s sole supplier of orangutans decided to quit renting them out and send six of them to an Iowa sanctuary" last week. Of course, that’s great news for the orangutans, who don’t care why they no longer have to work. The reason isn’t related to their genetics or intelligence, but to their small numbers.
"Using nonhuman primates in entertainment venues like films, television and advertisements certainly doesn’t enhance public attitudes toward their conservation, and doesn’t get across the message about their precarious situation in the wild," said Lori Perkins of Atlanta’s zoo, who heads the Orangutan Species Survival Plan. . . .
Wildlife experts say the estimated 62,000 orangutans remaining in the wild could be wiped out within decades as loggers and palm oil farmers destroy their Asian forest habitats.
(There’s that orangutan/Earth Balance connection again. Can’t seem to shake it, these days.)
So the reason the orangutans won’t be forced to act anymore is because people don’t treat conservation seriously when the animals are forced to act? That makes no sense to me, but I’m happy the decision has been made.
Why is it that humans take whatever they can from nonhumans, and when they’ve used and abused them to the brink of extinction, then they start to care about their well-being and future?