I love it when I hear good news! Rolling through the new (ugh) Facebook feed tonight, I came across some truly excellent news about ChimpCARE’s new project. Steve Ross announced that they are working on an interactive children's book that will teach parents and kids about the issues surrounding apes in entertainment. I love the project! I love the art! Above all, I love that a zoo is the moving force behind Chimps Should be Chimps, an iPad book which should be available for free download via the Apple App Store in November.
|An illustration from the Chimps Should be Chimps iPad book|
When I think how far zoos have come…
At one point in the 1950s, the Detroit Zoo had four 30-minute chimpanzee shows daily, five shows on Sunday. One of the Detroit newspapers ran a big picture of dad (pictured on right) and another trainer with the chimps. “School Days at the Zoo ― The Chimps Go to Class So That They’ll Have New Stunts for Next Season,” the headline read. As much as those shows tickled me when I was a child, I grew up to the realization that the chimp shows -- and the trips to biomedical research facilities that inexorably followed -- were a horrid fate for captive chimpanzees.
Of course, zoos aren't the only one with captive apes. The Detroit Zoo stopped its chimp show in 1983, but we still have plenty of opportunities to snicker at chimpanzees today, compliments of greeting card companies, advertising agencies, movies, and some of the more stupid roadside “safari shows.” In this country, despite our professed care for animal welfare, we still allow chimpanzees to be bred and trained for use in entertainment, despite the proven harm done to the chimps.
But now! ChimpCARE, Lincoln Park Zoo and Manning Productions are turning the whole thing topsy-turvy. Instead of using chimps for entertainment, they are using entertainment for chimpanzees. Bravo to you all.
I can’t wait to see the book – and, as it turns out, I don’t have to wait. They’ve actually got a blog that will take us through the art process. Now that’s entertainment!