This article originally appeared on VICE Canada
From the very moment Steven Spielberg put his hands on the Jurassic Park franchise in 93, character Dr. Ian Malcolm—a mathematician played by Jeff Goldblum—has had his warnings about dinosaurs ignored:
“Dinosaurs had their shot, nature selected them for extinction.” — Malcolm, Jurassic Park
“Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming.” — Malcolm, The Lost World: Jurassic Park
“These creatures were here before us. And if we’re not careful… they’re going to be here after. Life cannot be contained. Life breaks free. Life… finds a way.” — Malcolm, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
But despite his warnings, our incredibly dumb heroes in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom actually embark on a plan to a) go back to the island full of dinosaurs and b) save those dinosaurs from a volcano. I, for one, would have left the dinosaurs there, but I’m not an animal activist, and that got me thinking: What would PETA do?
Despite having done wonderful work for animals for years, we’ve watched PETA make some pretty controversial moves over the years including; defending roaches, comparing animal cruelty to slavery, and telling me it’s wrong to own a pet. Characters Claire Dearing and Franklin Webb from Jurassic World operate in a similar and frustrating way.
I had to know if PETA and other animal rights activists would agree to save the dinosaurs. So I asked them.
Lisa Lange, PETA Senior Vice President
VICE: Unlike the Jurassic Park franchise, how would you guys handle the managing of dinosaurs with a habit for killing humans?
Lisa Lange: A dinosaur? Hmm, that would be a tall order, but managing animals isn't how PETA rolls really. We'd never want any species to be exploited for some out-of-touch notion of entertainment. It's why we leaned hard on Ringling Bros. circus and why we continue to lean hard on SeaWorld. It's why we free bears from roadside zoos and why we'll be at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, next month.
Greedy traffickers who drug, cage, and auction off the dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are cut from the same cloth as real-life exploiters. Whenever animals are locked behind bars, beaten in order to make them perform, or hunted in their homes in nature, they aren't allowed to act of their own accord. Instead of being able to roam, forage, play, or even choose a mate, they're denied everything that makes them such unique individuals.
So given that this franchise pretty much mostly features dinosaurs attacking humans, would you guys go for the roam free option?
We'd give them their own island, sans volcano, so that they could live freely without endangering humans, who are animals, too. Doesn’t seem too difficult. But going back even further, we wouldn't have resurrected them in the first place just for them to end up being hunted or sold. Often, when animals are put on the endangered list, like wolves have been, they're reintroduced to areas that they used to call home only to be hunted again when their numbers reach a certain point. It's a cruel, vicious cycle.
Pretty much James Cromwell, the PETA superhero who plays Fallen Kingdom's Benjamin Lockwood was the movie's voice of reason and he offered the same opinion. That an island is a perfect option for any dinosaur, where he says, “These creatures don’t need our protection, they need our absence.” I’m pretty sure most of us agree.
Robert Thomas, Animal Rights Organizer
VICE: If there was an option to press a button that would kill off the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom , or let them roam free, what would you choose and why?
Robert Thomas: I probably wouldn’t resurrect dinosaurs to begin with? But if that couldn’t be helped, my whole stance on it would be to do a better job at protecting ourselves. Who are we to get rid of anything that lives? Just because we’re smarter doesn’t give us the power to decide what’s worthy of life or death. The one thing I always thought was so stupid about those movies was that they kept trying to make a parade of creatures that clearly didn’t want to be caged. Do a better job at not being stupid and let the dinosaurs live.
Andrea Bellew, PETA Supporter
VICE: Do you side with the folks in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ? That dinosaurs should be kept alive and kicking?
Andrea Bellow: Well, the running joke is that no one listens to Jeff Goldblum in those movies. He’s been right in every movie and they keep thinking that dinosaurs being paraded in front of humans is an OK thing. The job of people who support animals of all different kinds is to make sure they’re safe, and sometimes that means making sure that they’re as far away from us as possible. I think the misunderstanding for a lot of people is that PETA only cares about non-human things, but they also care about the safety of humans and if it means providing more education for so called smart humans on how to stay safe without harming the lives of dinosaurs, then that’s what the people in these movies needed to do.
Vanessa Campbell, Animal Rights Activist
VICE: There’s a moment in Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom when there’s an option to let the dinosaurs roam free. The justification is that they are alive. But to me, killers are living too but that doesn’t mean they should be free either.
Vanessa Campbell: (laughs) I think the real question is, do they kill for sport or do they kill for survival or from a place of instinct? I think that’s an off comparison to make since we have a choice unlike the animals that people think are dangerous. I’d of course make sure there was a way to let the dinosaurs go free somewhere without us being a danger to them and vice versa. I think that’s just common sense.
Sarah Gladwell, PETA Supporter
VICE: You’ve been a fan of what PETA does, and you’re even a vegan because of it. If a dinosaur had the opportunity to kill a human, what would you do?
Sarah Gladwell: Ugh, sorry but I hate these questions (laughs). Obviously if I’m right in the moment and I have an opportunity to save someone, I’ll save the person. But like, why should that even be a question. My question is, why are dinosaurs that you know are dangerous around people around people? Why do you consider a species the top of the food chain, and in knowing that, you’re not even smart enough to keep yourself safe? I don’t know...I just think questions like that blur the message.
Ruth Welsh, Vegan
VICE: Would you get rid of the dinosaurs in a Jurassic Park situation?
Ruth Welsh: As a vegan, which I guess means I’m a supporter of all animal rights in some way, I have to take all creatures into consideration. I completely get it when PETA is mocked for supporting the lives of roaches for example, but in doing that they also give people like us tips for avoiding or deterring them. I think it’s just that simple. In Jurassic Park they keep making a park, like the first few times weren’t just bad ideas. Do we really have alter the natural order of things just for our own entertainment? Don’t get rid of the dinosaurs, just keep them away from us. We’re harmful to ourselves enough.
Francis Vergel, Meat Eater, Friend
VICE: Would you kill the dinosaurs man?
Francis Vergel: They aren’t even technically real bro, so yup. Why are we even having this conversation?
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