Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" shows that real primates no

Computer-generated chimpanzees look and act like the real apes


A forthcoming movie called "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" can easily serve as a conduit to get people interested in important issues concerning animal protection. In the past, real animals have been used to make movies and on many occasions they have been abused, even if it was not the intention of the people who were using them. However, on some occasions animals were intentionally abused and intimidated, "broken" is the term used, so that they would do exactly what the filmmakers wanted. Some even died as a result of their mistreatment. (see also and). Even a movie set can be unsettling to an animal. They don't like the bright lights and noise of a typical set and even when their basic needs are taken care of they'd rather be left alone.   "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", like "Avatar", shows clearly that no longer do we even have to consider using real animals to make movies about the amazing beings with whom we share our planet.  Using the latest technology to produce computer-generated apes, Caesar, the star of this forthcoming movie, looks and acts like a real chimpanzee and it's wonderful that not a single chimpanzee had to be used to show viewers what it's like to be a chimpanzee. Caesar's various and wide-ranging emotional states are beautifully portrayed and at times I asked myself what was this chimpanzee feeling about being used this way, only to remind myself that Caesar wasn't a real animal. We should be happy that there is a lot of work being done to protect animals in entertainment (see also) and this new movie will surely go a long way toward ending the use of animals in film. I can't wait to see it in its entirety.   To learn more about how this movie was made see"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" opens nationwide on August 5, 2011. 


Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


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