Captivation Without Captivity

You could, perhaps, be forgiven for thinking that because the 1966 film Born Free featured a cast of captive lions (even though the story was all about freedom) that The Born Free Foundation would at least tolerate the use of captive wild animals in films.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as we have said for nearly 30 years.

Now our good friends at The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) have, once more, exposed the reality of life for captive wild animals exploited for our so-called entertainment.

It is 50 years since the film Born Free was premiered in London, a fact celebrated as part of 2016 ‘Year of the Lion‘. All those years ago there was no alternative to using live animals in films such as Born Free. But, today, things are radically different.

The new Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster, The Revenant, features CGI (Computer Generated Images) so believable that audiences cannot distinguish between real bears and those created inside the ‘mind’ of a computer.

Using living captive wild animals is lazy film-making. It perpetuates the kind of lifetime captivity exposed by CAPS and endorses companies like Amazing Animals which make a living from hiring out tigers, lions, hyenas, primates, leopards – and Zara the polar bear. Film and TV production companies who use captive wild animals do not have the imagination to use alternatives and are seemingly prepared to turn a blind eye to the unnatural and deprived lives these animals are forced to endure.

I asked my mother, Virginia McKenna OBE, one of the stars of Born Free, whether she would support the filming of a remake of the classic film that has inspired generations of animal lovers and conservationists worldwide. Her answer is crystal clear:

“That was 50 years ago. My late husband Bill and I knew little about the issue and were not presented with any alternatives. We did manage to return three of the lions used in the film back to the wild under the supervision of our dear friend and mentor George Adamson. As far as a remake of Born Free is concerned? Sure, why not. But ONLY if there is a cast-iron guarantee that no captive wild animals are used in the retelling of this amazing and inspiring true story.”

So Born Free’s message to the film, television and advertising industry is simple. Say no to the ongoing exploitation of captive wild animals for ‘entertainment’ and say yes to film-making with a compassionate heart.

Well done CAPS and DiCaprio. The future’s bright – the future’s WILD!

Blogging off


3 Responses to “Captivation Without Captivity”

  1. Elle Says:

    What a wonderful Legacy your parents have left for you! I have seen the Film and have cried each time. People do not ever consider that animals are not for any type of Entertainment. TV Shows and Films that use live Animals should be boycotted. Who wants to watch knowing the pain the animals experience when they are being ‘trained’?

  2. Claire Cartman Says:

    Very good blog Will, I was chatting to Kate Snowdon about how does she feel about a remake of the film Born Free? has I felt the power of this film might just be another powerful message for the new generation of people, on how much freedom is important.

  3. sylvia Says:

    Creo que ningún Animal debe ser maltratado,en ninguna forma.Ellos nacieron para ser libres.Y me gustaría que los gobiernos no den vuelta la espalda cuando se les está pidiendo clemencia.Es absurdo y aberrante el daño cusado a los Animales(Seres nobles)por parte del llamado ‘ser humano’.