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VIDEO: One Direction Criticised Over Chimpanzee Video

Cornwall News
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6:55am 29th October 2014

A Cornish charity condemns the new music video which shows One Direction playing with a chimpanzee, tied up in a chain.

Wild Futures monkey sanctuary in Looe says Steal My Girl sends out the wrong message.

It wants keeping primates as pets to be illegal.

Senior keeper Clare told Pirate FM: "Primates that are used in entertainment are typically taken off their mums at a very young age - long before they would have naturally been weaned in order to make them pliable and trainable.

"What that means is that they are denied their basic social needs of living in a social group.

"By having images of primates, like the chimpanzee, it shows that they are pliable, cute, cuddly animals - and it gives people completely the wrong idea.

"It encourages people to want them at pets and that's really damaging to real conservation efforts for the species. Chimpanzees are endangered."

The band's people say no animals were harmed - and they stuck to strict guidelines making the video.

You can watch the video here - and scroll down to read the full letter from the charity.

Dear One Direction,

We are very saddened to see that you are using a wild animal, a chimpanzee, in one of your promotional videos. Wild Futures is very concerned about the use of wild animal “actors” and in particular the use of primates. We are a primate welfare and conservation charity that supports projects around the world, works with governments to protect primates and we have a sanctuary in the UK for victims of the pet and entertainment industries.

We know that you would not deliberately abuse any animal, but believe that these situations arise because of a lack of understanding or knowledge of the reality for primate “actors”.

Please read on to see why we are so passionate about this:

The use of wild animals in this way is a damaging and destructive practice that is condemned by zoologists, animal welfare scientists and conservationists worldwide.

Such concerns go far beyond the treatment of the animals on-set: the use of wild animals as actors is in many cases highly detrimental to welfare of the individuals involved in ways that can manifest throughout their lifetimes; while studies show that the use of wild animals as actors may even have a negative impact on the survival of animal populations in the wild, by increasing demand for that species as pets and/or by diminishing concern for their conservation in the wild.

Wild animals used as actors may appear to be well-treated on set or in training (though there is plenty evidence that this is not always the case), but our concern is that the very process employed to make these animals tractable and safe to work with involves depriving them of their natural “identity”, opportunities for natural behaviour and is detrimental to the animals’ health and welfare. Young primates, for example, are taken away from their mothers before weaning age, which can cause lasting psychological damage, and adversely affect physical development of the young monkey’s brain.

The youngsters are then raised in a highly unnatural social and physical environment in which they do not have the chance to develop into healthy, well-adjusted individuals. Instead, as with many wild animals in captivity, they can develop a host of abnormal behaviours which range from pacing or rocking (as often seen in conjunction with psychological disorders in humans), to excessive aggression or extreme submission, to self-injurious behaviour.

Even the luckiest of these primates often lack the skills that are a vital part of living in a social group and thus spend much of their long lives completely isolated from any contact with other primates. These same problems can be seen in a wide range of animals used in performance.

The chimpanzee you were working with is very young and may not yet manifest these problems. Although he/she will certainly have been taken from his/her mother which can only have caused huge distress to both. It will not be long before the juvenile chimpanzee grows and becomes far too dangerous to “work” any more. Then please ask yourself what future does he/she have?

The public increasingly agrees with our stance in condemning any use of wild animals as actors. We ask you, One Direction, with the following you have, the influence you can create, with all the potential for transforming this situation into something good by taking a stance, to please make the compassionate and well-informed decision to end your use of performing wild animals and pull the video now.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like further information on any of this. Thank you for your time and I hope that you make a thoughtful decision on this.

Many thanks,

Wild Futures   

6:55am 29th October 2014

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