On this weekend's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver welcomed renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall to his ongoing series, "Great Minds: People Who Think Good," where he drags famous scientists down to his level and tries to beat them with experience. Several willfully stupid questions later, they agreed on exactly one thing: Poothrow Hitler would be an amazing name for a chimp.
The National Institutes of Health announced today that most of America's federal stockpile of chimpanzees will be permanently retired from biomedical research. Of the 360 chimps currently available for testing, 310 are to be irrevocably assigned to the Federal Sanctuary System. The remaining 50 will still be eligible to be recalled for research, if necessary.
This year's Disneynature's Earth Day documentary offering, Chimpanzee, is the latest in a rash of documentaries about the emotional lives of animals to emerge in the past year or so. Project Nim, One Lucky Elephant and The Whale (my favorite of the bunch because it was responsible for one of the most moving cinema experiences I've ever had) dissect and bemoan humans' complicated relationship with those whom we share Earth with – the good, the bad, the exploitative. Those three movies present stories of direct human interaction and, more specifically, how human interruption can severely fuck up innocent animal lives.
A 300 pound pet chimpanzee managed to escape from his owners Kansas City home yesterday—true story! Watch the footage of his standoff with the local police and animal control, complete with commentary from the amused neighbors.
While it pains us to stoop to the animal-threatening tactics of National Lampoon, it seems that Hollywood is far more cavalier with the fates of its four-legged thespians. According to the LAT, one of filmdom's most enjoyable genres — that of the monkey movie — is being assailed by PETA activists, who are demanding that actor chimps be replaced by CG versions. They allege that the trained monkeys are being abused to solicit a performance — and based on this anecdote about "Clyde," the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose, they may have a point: