Isn’t there anyone on your staff who has even a smidgen of consciousness about animal issues? Last year, your paper wrote an article on cockfighting and trashed a vegetarian food fair. Now your film critic is singing the praises of Dunston Checks In (Film Clips, 1/19), the new film by director Ken Kwapis that stars a baby orangutan named “Sam.”
It seems common sense to me that baby orangutans belong with their mothers in the wild, not on movie sets or at press conferences engaged in banana split-eating contests! You point out that “Sam” is the latest in a long line of Hollywood “monkeys” like “Clyde,” but you fail to mention that Clyde was horribly abused and died as a result of the Clint Eastwood flick, Any Which Way but Loose.
It seems like every decade or so, Hollywood rediscovers the use of baby animals in films. This recycled “fad” is responsible for untold misery and death. These baby animals are bred in captive breeding facilities for profit and then sold to animal trainers who will undoubtedly dump them when they are old or no longer “cute.” To create such a frivolous “use” for these endangered animals is morally and ethically wrong.
Your reviewer comments that the film’s director “fails to fully exploit Sam’s appeal.” Unfortunately, he does not fail to fully exploit Sam.
National Program Director
Friends of Animals