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    Posted December 19, 2013 by
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    iReport at the movies

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    UNEP's Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Protests Use of Live Chimpanzee in Scorsese’s "The Wolf of Wall Street"

     
    GRASP Protests Use of Live Chimpanzee in Scorsese’s “Wolf”

    The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) has called upon director Martin Scorsese to remove scenes using a live chimpanzee from his upcoming film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” on the grounds that it is cruel and unnecessary.

    GRASP also protested to lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio and producers and executives from Paramount Pictures, which will release “The Wolf of Wall Street” worldwide on December 25.

    Chimpanzee actors are often subject to brutal training methods and are subject to severe emotional and physical stress. Few chimpanzees work for more than a few years, and often end up requiring lifetime sanctuary care.

    “This is lazy filmmaking from Mr. Scorsese, someone from whom we expect better,” said GRASP programme director Doug Cress. “In this day and age, with the advances in computer-generated imagery and motion-capture technology, there is no need to use a live chimpanzee. For relatively little screen time, Mr. Scorsese and the makers of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ have condemned a chimpanzee to long-term trauma.”

    The chimpanzee appears briefly in a scene with Mr. DiCaprio depicting the wild, unpredictable office antics of the lead character, Jordan Belfort, a corrupt stockbroker in New York in the 1990s.

    The chimpanzee, whose real name is “Chance,” is owned by the Rosaire-Zoppe family, which trains animals for the entertainment industry but has been cited on numerous occasions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for sub-standard care.

    Recent studies indicate that images of chimpanzees and other apes in entertainment distorts the public perception of the conservation crises facing these endangered animals.

    Numerous wildlife advocacy groups have protested the use of the chimpanzee in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on supporters to boycott the film, and launched a petition asking Mr. DiCaprio – a high-profile supporter of conservation issues - to never work with great apes again.
    GRASP sent letters to Scorsese, DiCaprio and Paramount executives on October 24, asking that the scenes involving the chimpanzee be cut. Attempts to speak directly to Mr. Scorsese and Mr. DiCaprio were unsuccessful, while Paramount executives referred all queries regarding the content of the film to the director.

    GRASP is a unique alliance of 90 nations, conservation organizations, United Nations agencies, and research institutions committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes and their habitat. For more information, visit www.un-grasp.org.

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