Pat Goodmann, head animal curator at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana weighs in on the film, “The Grey.” Pat was a guest column in the Lafayette Journal and Courier posted below:
“The Grey,” a movie about an oil drilling team stranded by a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness that is hunted by a pack of wolves, was released today. Dearfilm.net calls it “a brutal, devastating treatise on nature and the divine, life and death.”
Wolves being portrayed inaccurately as vicious hunters is nothing new, but that’s not why I wrote this. But did filmmakers get away with ignoring basic ethical standards of animal treatment?
“The Grey” is not just a film that shows actors killing wolves on the screen. For the filming, four wild wolves that had been trapped and killed in Canada were utilized, according to The Province. Meat from two of those wolves was eaten on set.
Pat Goodmann, Wolf Park’s primary wolf curator, contributes her two cents in a guest column in the Lafayette Journal and Courier.
“Wolves being portrayed inaccurately as vicious hunters is nothing new, but that’s not why I wrote this. But did filmmakers get away with ignoring basic ethical standards of animal treatment?”
Dermot Mulroney, during an interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” said that director Joe Carnahan had wolf meat served to the cast in the form of a stew and barbecue.
A source at the National Wolfwatcher Coalition informed Wolf Park that the animal handlers used on the set of the film were not on the approved handler list. On top of that, the film’s publicist, Liz Biber, was so unaware of how wild wolves react to humans that she asked Wolfwatcher if they could get OR-7, the first wild wolf to cross into California in 80 years, to walk the red carpet at the movie’s opening. A little ironic, considering that the film portrays wolves as violent mankillers.
Do wild wolves pose a serious threat to humans? Just because an animal can potentially be dangerous doesn’t mean that it necessarily will be. Dave Mech, one of the top wolf researchers, says there were only about two dozen nonfatal attacks in North America on humans in the past century. Those wolves had not only become habituated to humans, but associated them with food.
On Isle Royale, the late Purdue University professor, Durward Allen, started a research project on wolf and moose ecology more than 50 years ago, which continues today. Rangers, researchers and campers hike the island through wolf territories regularly. No humans have ever been harmed by the Isle Royale wolves.
Using “The Grey” to understand wolves is like using Hannibal Lecter to understand humans. This film, which perpetuates the myth that wolves and humans cannot coexist, is being released at a time when wolves have been taken off of the endangered species list. We fear that conservation efforts will be hindered by misinformation disseminated by popular fiction such as “The Grey,” and, of course, Wolf Park deplores harming of animals for human entertainment.”
**Special thanks to
Jconline.com for providing this information (http://www.jconline.com/article/20120127/OPINION03/120126023/Guest-column-Can-t-get-past-ethical-Grey-area) and to Pat Goodmann, head animal curator of Wolf Park in Battle Ground for being guest column (http://blog.wolfpark.org/?p=652). Wolf Preservation supports Wolf Park so please visit their site!