Monday, January 30, 2012

The Grey: A Misleading Portrayal of Wolves

Critics are calling The Grey an entertaining tale of man vs. beast, but animal-rights activists think the movie is absurd. The film, which stars Liam Neeson, shows a group of roughneck oil riggers who fight off a vicious pack of wolves after a plane crash dumps them in the Alaskan wilderness.

“The notion that wolves attack humans is ridiculous,” says Wendy Keefover, carnivore-protection director for WildEarth Guardians, one of several groups that has called for a boycott of the film.“Most people don’t know anything about wolves. This movie will tap into their primal fears and create mass hysteria."

Only two fatal wolf attacks have been documented in the history of North America, yet The Grey depicts wolves as eviscerating man-eaters. Maggie Howell, managing director of America's Wolf Conservation Center, says, "Wolves don't hunt humans - they actually shy away from them."

In addition, animal rights groups are upset because cast members ate wolf meat while shooting in Alaska. Director Joe Carnahan ordered wolf carcasses flown in for the cast to eat so that the actors would "have a sense of the movie we were making." He bought the meat from a trapper, meaning that the wolves likely suffered horribly in traps before being killed.

Grey wolves have been brought back from the edge of extinction to a population of 5,500 in eight states in the Northern Rockies. Last year, the Interior Department caved to pressure from ranchers and hunters to allow regular wolf hunts.

Here's the truth about grey wolves: they are delisted and have a fragile hold on survival. They need our help and our understanding. Not our ignorance and exploitation.

Sources: The Daily Beast, Global Animal, The PETA Files
Image by Joel Sartore

14 comments:

  1. I can certainly agree that eating wolf meat from trapped animals is disgusting. However, while the use of wolves as antagonists against humans in movies is not true to life, that is because it is fiction, designed to create drama. Wolves have also been used in a positive light in movies such as the Jungle Book, Balto, and Princess Mononoke. There are plenty of movies using sharks as radical human killers also, but it is just for show.

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  2. Hi Vicki, Thanks for shining a light on this. In case you or your readers are unaware, there is a boycott campaign going on over at Care2 here: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-we-will-boycott-the-grey.html

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    1. Thanks Leslie - I will be sure to circulate the petition!

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  3. Good post - I agree this is a very misleading portrayl of wolves in this movie!

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  4. I didn't know that's what the movie was about; I'd only heard about it in a peripheral way. What a disappointment.

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  5. I didn't know this film was about such a tired subject like the "big bad wolf". That's really too bad Hollywood insists on portraying these animals in this way. We should be long over this fear by now.

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  6. Thanks for this post. Just when you think there's a bit of progress in raising awareness of the need to protect wolves, a dumb film like this comes along and it's back to square one -- or even further behind.

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  7. oh no, not good at all. Thanks for letting us know about this!

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  8. That is really sad. We're back to the big bad wolf mentality after so many years of understanding what these noble creatures are really like.

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  9. Excuse me. But Who of you has ever had an actual wolf experience. They will in deed attack people. I'm not saying wolves are bad they just are what they are. predators. and just for you information the wolves that have been introduced into the wild places of say Idaho, are NOT the original ones. They are larger (by 50 lbs) and they have been caught on video killing for fun. Chasing down an elk, killing it and leaving it. So lets take our love for animals and do whats right for them. But lets not paint a rosy picture not based on facts.

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    1. GnV - I certainly understand that wolves are predators. No one is disputing that fact. They are wild animals, who hunt and kill for food.

      My chief concern is that grey wolves were hunted by humans to nearly the point of extinction, and have recently been delisted, may possibly become endangered again.

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  10. Vicki, I had a visceral reaction to just the film's trailer. Knowing the plight of the wolves made this movie one I would never, ever support with my money. To learn that trapped, slaughtered wolves were shipped in to give the actors something to chew on in order to get into character is despicable. I'm hardly surprised, but I'm incredibly discouraged.

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  11. Jesus, you people can't be serious. It's a movie for christ's sake, who cares how they're portrayed? People who truly want to know what real wolves are like will google it and figure out otherwise almost immediately. Boycotting such a well crafted movie for something that should hardly be classified as "animal rights" will not work, and is overall an absolutely ridiculous idea.

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  12. I agree that you might not want to be too hard on the film, but killing wolves should only be necessary in self defense situations. People have advanced brains and should be creative enough to think of ways to protect themselves and their livestock from all canines without killing the animals. It might not be the easy way, but killing quite simply is not necessary. Some folks really do look at animals with disdain and disgust and think that just because their natural instincts end up costing them money or livestock that they can just kill these beautiful animals.

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