John Oliver is well known for conducting hilarious interviews on his comedy show, Last Week Tonight. Here, he is able to poke some fun at celebrities and other popular media figures, but recently, Oliver learned that it’s all fun and games until you bring up the idea of primate ownership to the one and only Jane Goodall!
While Goodall is able to take the joke for most of the interview, we can tell she gets a bit defensive when asked about keeping chimps as pets. When Oliver asks about what makes chimps great pets, Goodall responds with a stern shake of the head and says, “They’re not pets. I can’t even say they’re bad pets because they’re not pets.”
Goodall makes a firmer point by adding, “They’re very cute and sweet and cuddly when their little and what happens when they’re five, six, seven, and why do people have their face bitten off?”
Here, Goodall references Charla Nash, a woman who lost her eyes, nose, and lips back in 2009 as a result of interacting with her friends pet chimp. Nash’s story went viral immediately, and even to this day, she is still found in the media trying to gain more support for the Captive Primates Safety Act.
As Goodall takes on a serious tone, refusing to believe that primates dressed in human clothing is “funny,” we have come to understand that her opposition towards primate ownership is for good reason. Many people believe that primates are cute, snuggly animals that are fun to dress up (this seriously happens, guys …) but, this is simply not the case. If not given the proper amount and kind of stimulation and socialization, these animals can become emotionally and psychologically distressed, often leading to increased aggression and dangerous situations for humans.
Primates require social interaction with other primates of the same species … not humans. While we may think cuddling a cute little capuchin or dressing up chimpanzees is cute, these acts are doing absolutely nothing to support primates. Sorry, Oliver, but primate ownership is no laughing matter in the eyes of this incredible animal hero.