HBO Under Fire for Exploiting Monkey in Mark Ruffalo Miniseries

After a monkey was exploited in two episodes of HBO’s I Know This Much Is True—following the network’s recent use of elephants in Westworld, a bear in Silicon Valley, a tiger in Vice Principals, and a lion in The Leftovers—PETA fired off a letter once again calling on the company’s executives to enact a policy against using wild animals and stop supporting an animal-abusing industry.

“Animals aren’t looking for their ’15 minutes of fame’—in fact, they’re desperate to avoid it,” says PETA Senior Manager of Animals in Film and Television Lauren Thomasson. “HBO knows this much is true, and PETA is calling on the purportedly progressive network to stop exploiting animals who are typically caged and beaten into submission off set and to use CGI instead.”

PETA points out that primates, such as capuchin monkeys, who are used for film and television are typically taken away from their mothers prematurely and are frequently denied adequate psychological and social stimulation, proper exercise, and the opportunity to engage in natural behavior. As a result, they often develop neurotic behavior patterns, such as pacing, rocking, swaying, cage-biting, and self-mutilation. Many suffer from debilitating loneliness and depression.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the animal supplier credited on the series, Dawn Animal Agency, was found noncompliant in more than 75% of U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections over the past 20 years, and those inspections set only the minimum standards for animal care.

Furthermore, a credited monkey trainer apparently previously worked for notorious supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited, which was the subject of a PETA investigation revealing that cats were virtually starved, an owl was kept in a feces-strewn enclosure, an emaciated pig was denied veterinary care for bloody sores, dogs were kept in pound-like kennels with concrete floors and no bedding, and a kangaroo who died was reportedly misrepresented on a federal document as having “gone to Texas.”

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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