Kim's hypocrisy regarding animal rights
Kim Basinger has been a long-time and dedicated supporter of animal rights and, in addition to supporting anti-circus charity PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society), she is a member of the world’s second biggest (and most vocal) animal rights group, PETA (People for the ethical Treatment of Animals). It is arguable that she is responsible for influencing ex-husband Alec Baldwin in his support for the group. The pair of them used their celebrity status the most during the 1990s to promote animal rights charities and they worked on various campaigns to promote vegan-ism and opposition to the use of fur. At the peak of her career in 1997 Basinger voiced her condemnation of circuses that use animals. She arrived in New Mexico to announce her crusade to save animals and issued this statement to the press:
“These animals are kept in horrific conditions. They’re dragged around cities suffering in the name of entertainment.”
In addition to the circus mentioned in the link, Basinger was a frequent opponent of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. 1998 seems have been the year that Basinger’s attention went from PETA’s anti-fur campaign to its anti-animal circus one. Fur was old news at the time and animal circus controversy was raging across the Atlantic with many animal rights celebrities joining the cause in the USA and the UK. At the time Basinger was arguably at the peak of her career with her comeback success in “L.A. Confidential” and a high profile low-risk campaign such as this might have seemed perfect. She lobbied for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus to have their licence suspended pending an investigation into the death of a 3 year old elephant.
Why is this celebrity a hypocrite?
The audacity of this particular celebrity is incredible. In 1998, following her critical success in “L.A. Confidential” Basinger took the lead in a multi-million dollar flop called “I Dreamed of Africa”. Perhaps high on her critical success, Basinger imagined she was going to tread in Meryl Streep’s footsteps with her very own “Out of Africa”. She appeared on the September “Today” program to promote the film and also champion her cause against the use of animals in circuses, particularly elephants, which were the main animal stars of said movie. However, the above linked “People” magazine article lightly mentions Basinger’s hypocrisy. Circus people hit back at the star claiming that the elephants used were from a South African circus, as were all the other animals.
One person’s word against another’s? No, not at all. The elephants used in “I Dreamed of Africa” came from “Brian’s Circus”, today known as “Brian Boswell’s Circus”. Our source from the company explained in detail how the circus lorry bearing the elephants was emblazoned with show’s logo and only a few meters away from Ms Basinger. Basinger saw first-hand how the ankus (aka the “bull-hook”) was used to maneuver trained elephants and she voiced no complaints on set whatsoever.
The USA’s most famous animal welfare association, The American Humane Association (not to be confused with the radical animal rights group, the Humane Association of the United States), which often stands on the sets of major motion pictures that feature animals to confirm that no animals have been harmed, confirms that circus animals were used throughout the filming of I Dreamed of Africa”.
“Enter Stage Right” noted the apparent double-standards:
Basinger accused of ‘Situational Ethics’
There’s always a risk involved in loudly championing a cause, as Kim Basinger recently discovered.
Animal trainer Jim Stockwell [actually Stockley] tells New York magazine that the well-known animal-rights activist had no complaints against using elephants for her latest movie, I Dreamed of Africa, even though she’s frequently campaigned against the animals’ use in circuses.
“I did think that was strange, that an animal-rights activist who feels so strongly about the use of trained animals would agree to do this movie in the first place,” Stockwell says.
A spokesman for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus accused Basinger of “situational ethics,” saying that the elephants used in Africa were trained “using the same methods she attacks us for.”
As mentioned above, the source for this comes from the New York magazine. Here is what they had to say:
TUSK, TUSK: KIM’S AFRICAN ADVENTURE
Kim Basinger should remember that elephants have a longer memory than she apparently does. The actress, a militant animal-rights activist who has crusaded to ban elephants and other trained animals from circuses, recently finished shooting a movie in South Africa that stars, among other trained animals . . . circus elephants. In I Dreamed of Africa, based on a true story, Basinger stars as wildlife conservationist Kuki Gallman. For three days while filming in South Africa, she was surrounded by trained elephants and lions from the local Brian’s Circus. “I did think that it was strange that an animal-rights activist, who feels so strongly about the use of trained animals, would agree to do this movie in the first place,” says Brian’s Circus animal trainer Jim Stockley. “I also thought it strange that she never even approached me to inquire about the treatment of our animals.”
[Read full report here]
As you will note from both these reports further criticism came from information that a dog was sedated for a scene it shared with Basinger. Apparently the dog, which didn’t come from a circus, was trained and perfectly fit to perform the scene without sedation. However, this was for “the actor’s benefit” and the sedative was administered by a qualified veterinary surgeon. The production was warned by the trainer that this was contrary to AHA guidelines. Anyway, New York Post satirical cartoonist Sean Delonas pretty much summed up Rouster’s feelings on Basinger and her ridiculous defense of ignorance in the following cartoon.
During a 1996 PETA awards gala, Alec Baldwin was interviewed by the television program “Extra… The Entertainment Magazine,” where he voiced his opposition to ALL medical research. At the same time, however, Baldwin has also advocated for breast cancer research and has publicly supported various AIDS-related charities.
In October 1997, a university renamed its breast cancer facility in honor of Alec Baldwin’s mother, Carol Baldwin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 1990. This recognition honored her many years of activism in raising both awareness and funding for research of the critical affliction. In 1997, Baldwin participated in a gala that raised more than $500,000 for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, Inc.
In 2000, animal rights proponents were shocked to learn that PETA shills Alec Baldwin and wife Kim Basinger are the proud, unrepentant owners of eleven dogs, seven cats and a wolf. While condemning the pet ownership of others, the average animal rights activist keeps five or more pets, according to a 1993 survey by Animals Agenda. Such hypocrites call us “hoarders.”
WASHINGTON, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- They are wealthy and famous and
perhaps even well intentioned, but the television and movie stars who are
lending their names to support a proposed ban on circus elephants (H.B. 2929)
are hypocrites, according to the Outdoor Amusement Business Association. "If
celebrities want to use their star power to try to pass legislation, they have
an obligation to do their homework, get their facts straight and act in
accordance with their beliefs," says Robert W. Johnson, executive director of
The House Subcommittee on Crime plans hearings on the legislation on
Kim Basinger, who has posed with an elephant in an ad supporting the ban,
had no problem using circus elephants and other animals in a recent movie.
Game show host Bob Barker's life was recently prolonged with heart surgery
using medical procedures perfected with animal research.
"The average circus is a small family-owned business where we work with
and care for our animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,"
said Johnson. "It is the height of hypocrisy for a millionaire movie star to
try to put our circuses out of business when she has no problem performing
with elephants to make a movie. We are prepared to fight for our livelihoods
and the animals in our care.
"These celebrities have allowed themselves to become the tools of a small
group of activists with an extreme agenda. Anyone who thinks that this
campaign will end with elephants is kidding themselves," Johnson said.
"This bill seeks to rob millions of Americans of the opportunity to enjoy
family entertainment in a safe environment and claims to solve a problem that
doesn't exist," said Heidi Herriott whose family has performed in the circus
for three generations. These extremists won't win, once Congress recognizes
their hidden agenda.
"Animal activists are up to their old tricks of yelling 'fire' in a
crowded theater to draw attention to their extreme agenda," said Herriott.
"Their ultimate goal is to see a society where people don't eat meat, wear
leather shoes, have pets or benefit from life-saving medical research
Circuses have an extraordinary safety record. In 1999 20 million people
visited circuses. More than 10 million people have taken elephant rides
without a serious injury or death in the past ten years. Extremists often
point to isolated incidents involving trainers in venues other than the circus
to pad their statistics. In fact, there have been only 5 incidents involving
circus elephants in the past twenty years.
Circus industry officials also will refute claims concerning the treatment
of circus elephants. Circus elephants live longer, some to as old as 70, and
are generally far healthier than animals living in nature where they are
threatened by lack of natural habitat, poachers, overpopulation, agriculture,
and disease. Without captive breeding programs funded the by circus industry
and others, some Asian elephants would be in danger of extinction.
Congress has already expressed its commitment to the well being of circus
animals when it passed the Animal Welfare Act. The bill under consideration
this week would deviate from the successful policy, which emphasizes the
humane care and safe display of animals. The United States Department of
Agriculture already has the authority to enforce these federal standards.
"Americans love animals. We visit theme parks, zoos and circuses to learn
more about animals. Our admission fees help fund research and breeding
programs that are assisting in preventing the extinction of some animal
breeds. We lavish love and attention on our own pets. Americans have a right
to continue these activities," Herriott added.
"This bill would curtail that freedom because a few want to impose their
radical point of view on average Americans."