Today we are living in a culture of stars, celebrities and glamour. Whether it be top athletes, famous movie stars or childhood pop icons, celebrity and fame as well as all the associated glamour that comes with it are a big part of modern popular culture. Everyone loves to chat about their favourite sports star’s latest antics or the latest Hollywood blockbuster featuring their favourite big screen actor. Whatever got them there, once they have achieved stardom status our beloved celebrities tend to live larger than life, their everyday antics often over the top and on occasion bordering on the wildly bizarre. As a society we like to forgive famous people when they do odd things on occasion because they entertain and inspire us, and make our lives more fun. However surely there is a line to be drawn, and surely the treatment of animals should be a part of that.
There have been many celebrities who have been associated with exotic animals as pets, such as Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles, and Melanie Griffith and her family’s pet lion. If our neighbour or one of our friends was to suddenly acquire a similar pet, we would probably be concerned for their sanity. But celebrity life is different to normal life in many ways, so we probably wouldn’t blink an eye if Roger Federer went out and bought a pet giraffe or Jennifer Aniston bought a pet rhinoceros.
So it wouldn’t be that far out of the ordinary if a celebrity were to own a weird animal as a pet. But does that make it OK? How far can we go forgiving celebrities for eccentric behaviour? I would suggest that when an innocent animal’s welfare is at risk, we need to stop right there and look closely at the situation. So when a professional athlete randomly posts a photo on Instagram showing himself holding a baby monkey in his arms, there should be questions raised as to how the animal is being looked after.
NFL star Dez Bryant, receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, has posted such a photo just last week. And animal rights group PETA has questioned whether the monkey was illegally obtained, and has called for the monkey to be transferred to a sanctuary. PETA stresses that the monkey belongs in the wild, and should be cared for by wildlife experts with the training and the resources to properly care for the animal.
Here at Concord Vets we cannot stand any animal being mistreated, and we definitely agree with PETA’s stance. If Bryant’s actions are not actually illegal they definitely should be; how can it not be a legal requirement that those responsible for an animal’s wellbeing be in possession of the proper permits, training and facilities? Hopefully the authorities will take appropriate action!