Hollywood has been using chimpanzees for years and years, so you'd think they knew how to treat them. Sure, back in the early days there wasn't as much monitoring of animal wrangling on film sets, but by now filmmakers certainly know what is right and wrong when it comes to possible animal abuse. For instance, nobody would ever beat a chimp. Right? Maybe not. If the allegations are correct, though, the chimpanzee playing 'Chim-Chim' in the Speed Racer movie has been hit. One thing that has been confirmed is that the animal bit a young actor, but Warner Bros. claims that no harm has come to the chimp. PETA has heard differently, however, and the animal rights organization has asked producer Joel Silver to replace the live animal with an animatronic chimpanzee.
When a film production uses live animals, it is supposed to have a representative from the American Humane Society watching over the care and treatment of them. The AHS even has a part of its website that loosely details a movie's 'featured animal scenes' and whether or not a movie gets the 'no animals were harmed' stamp. Occasionally animals do die on set, or they may be unintentionally injured, but otherwise, the AHS maintains that animals like the Speed Racer chimp are taken good care of (and they apparently prefer animal stars to animatronic stars). Despite Warners' assurances that the AHS has seen no animal abuse with Speed Racer, PETA argues that the AHS is not monitoring off-set abuse nor pre-production training of the animal. In a final response to the studio, PETA stated, "we regret to say that the assurances you offer are meaningless."