Kevin James and “Zookeeper” can kiss my ass »
[Can see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Tai the elephant “actor” is in this new movie Zookeeper. I call WTF: what are these movie people thinking? After the above footage came out depicting Tai getting abused in “training” for Water for Elephants, how can people just release a movie with that same elephant without at least a billion-dollar donation to an elephant welfare group? Not that a donation makes it OK, but I’m assuming they filmed before the Animal Defenders International footage was released, so maybe they didn’t get what elephant “training” actually looks like. Now that the reality of Tai’s abuse is out for everyone to see, people who have worked with Tai should be defending her! Right? If they really liked working with her and she’s such a great animal and all that? These Hollywood people get on my nerves. They actually could do something to help Tai and they don’t!
There are some people who aren’t celebrating the mistreatment of Tai; she was supposed to appear in a July Fourth parade in Sierra Madre, CA, but people flipped! Go people! The city got a ton of letters from people asking that Tai not be in the parade and blammo! She’s not. Besides taking a stand against the abuse we know Tai suffered, PETA also points out that elephants and fireworks maybe don’t go together that great. Fireworks are scary! A scared elephant is no joke! People get stomped! It’s dangerous.
So that’s the good news—kudos, Sierra Madre! I just wish Kevin James would say something about this Zookeeper bullshit. Like, at least a “my bad! Here’s a zillion dollars for the elephants!”
Rio: not just another stupid kids’ movie! »
I just went to see the new animated movie Rio and you guys? Go see the movie! It is so insanely cute! So cute, other things that you once considered cute will now look just averagely cute in comparison. Like, my own kid suddenly looked kind of ragged after we saw the movie and I was like “Dude, you better step up your cute game or I might have to rent your room out to a cuddly little blue pelican who talks like Mark Zuckerberg and does the samba and drinks hot chocolate with a straw.” Whatever, wouldn’t you?
But, there’s more to this review than how damn cute the movie is. Yes, it gets better! I won’t give anything important away, but the basic premise of the movie is that Blu (the Mark Zuckerberg-voiced* bird) is savagely ripped from his beautiful home in the Brazilian rainforest as a little baby and taken to freezing cold, depressing Minnesota to be sold in a pet store. Sorry, Minnesota peeps, I’m sure it is a very lovely state but not for a bird from Brazil. I mean, have you ever been to Brazil? I haven’t either but damn it looks beautiful.
Blu is like the last male of his entire species alive on the planet, which is not really an exaggeration because we just love to destroy birds’ natural habitats, don’t we? So he has to go back to Brazil. When he goes back, all sorts of shenanigans occur. Of course, along the way he meets all kinds of little bird friends and they sing little bird songs because hell, this is a kids movie, and some of them rap. Little rapping birds? ESSENTIAL. In typical Disney-esqe fashion there is an all-encompassing moral which is basically: Hey kids! It may seem cool to have exotic animals as pets, but really? Animals don’t like to be in cages! They have feelings just like us! They want to be free and fly around the rainforest and rap and stuff!
I think this is fantastic. First there was Wall-E, which was all, “Humans are destroying the planet! Stop!” And now the animal rights movement gets a Disney movie too. And I really think movies like Rio can be a great tool to increase awareness about animal rights issues in children. I was even surprised that the movie chose to so bluntly illustrate (pun not intended but, bonus!) the evils of the animal trade, even making a point to show some sad-looking injured birds that were rescued from trappers and being rehabilitated. The viewer really feels strongly for the all of the animal characters in the movie, and wants them to break free of the cages and live out their lives in the wild where they belong and are obviously happiest, and for children this is an incredibly important lesson, creating a basis for rejecting current socially accepted forms of entertainment/animal abuse like the circus.
Go see Rio. If you don’t have a kid to bring with you and you feel like a mega-creeper going to kid’s movie, borrow someone else’s! Just make sure you ask permission first.
Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by the creators of Rio for this review. But I would totally accept it if offered because I’m broke. Twentieth Century Fox, what up? Call me.
*Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t actually provide the voice of the bird. It’s that kid that played Mark Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. I think. But whatever, I don’t even know his name but I do know Mark Zuckerberg’s name so that is how I am referring to him because I am efficient like that. [Ed.: it’s Jesse Eisenberg, my total boyfriend.]
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time pretending to be a ninja with her son, hiking, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she gets paid by a major grocery chain to educate its customers and employees about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how to cook awesome vegan food. IShe is kind of a slacker so she has no website or Twitter account to refer you to. But she will soon, she promises! Maybe!
Nonprofit rescues Omega, the chain-smoking chimp and sends him to sanctuary! Yay! »
So, you know how chimpanzees are stolen from their moms (who are often killed and used for bush meat) when they’re a couple months old and are cute and cuddly little playthings? Then some shortsighted person in not-Africa “raises” them until they’re about five or six years old, until they grow big and strong and start biting fingers off their human “parents” or trainers or patrons at restaurants in Lebanon where they are forced to dance for food? When that happens, they are often sent to labs, breeders, or roadside zoos in fucked up places. That’s the backstory on our pal Omega, the chain-smoking chimp in Lebanon. He had a fucked up childhood, dancing like a monkey (HE IS NOT A MONKEY) at some restaurant, and when he got too big, he was sold to a creepy piece of shit zoo in Lebanon where he LIVES IN A CAGE and HAS NO FRIENDS and CHAIN-SMOKES CIGARETTE BUTTS. Ah, humans! We are so rad!
But here’s some good news! The nonprofit Animals Lebanon took on the task of getting Omega into a sanctuary. In fact, Animals Lebanon, re-homed all the animals in the shit-tastic zoo. Yay them! They found a home for Mr. Omega 10,000 miles away in Brazil, at the Curitiba Sanctuary, which looks like a huge step up for the big guy. You can read Animals Lebanon’s recounting of getting Omega to the sanctuary here (it’s a good read!).
But Animals Lebanon isn’t stopping there; they’re attempting to pass legislation that tightens regulations concerning animal welfare. LOVE these people! If you’re interested in helping them, they have a wish list of things they desperately need. I know, we’re screwed enough right here at home without having to worry about everyone else but hey, maybe you have a computer you could send their way? Or get your company to donate something they need? Seriously, we’re so lucky here, why not support these people who are at ground zero, trying to get chain-smoking chimps in wire cages sent to a place where they can climb on trees and clear their lungs for the first time in their lives?
[photo of Omega from Animals Lebanon]