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From elephants on Westworld and the bear on Silicon Valley to the tiger on Vice Principals and the lion on The Leftovers—and now a monkey in I Know This Much Is True—it's time HBO got the memo: Animals aren't looking for their "15 minutes of fame." In fact, they're desperate to avoid it. We hoped that when Luck was canceled after at least three horses died during filming, HBO would start to do right by animals. But in the years since, including in 2020, animals continue to be exploited at the hands of the network.
PETA has revealed what happens to animals at training compounds—the deplorable conditions, the whippings, and the deaths—but wild animals are still being rented, crated, and manipulated for HBO cameras. The network has continued to perpetuate the dangerous idea that wild animals are happy in human environments, when in reality, their physical and instinctual needs are completely thwarted.
When network giants like HBO dress up monkeys for TV shows, it sends the dangerous and regressive message that wild animals are happy in human environments and are ours to control.
Capuchin monkeys like the one used for I Know This Much Is True are intelligent and highly social animals who naturally live in groups and spend most of their time in trees. In the rainforests where they belong, capuchins raise families and have intricate communication systems. They race through tree canopies with astonishing speed and accuracy. At training compounds, however, wild animals used for television or films are generally relegated to cramped cages—a far cry from their natural habitats.
Tell HBO to get on the right side of this issue and enact a policy against using wild animals. Computed-generated imagery and animatronics can depict animals humanely and responsibly, and given the lifelike dragons in Game of Thrones, the elephant in Watchmen, and even the tiger in Westworld, HBO already knows this much is true. Every time the network allows the use of real wild animals on its shows, it's directly supporting the abusive animal-training industry.
Use the form below to contact HBO on Twitter and ask it to pledge to stop exploiting animals!