The Fox and the Hound, a movie loved by children from the 1980s and on, and personally my favorite movie as a child. This movie tells a beautiful story about two kids (the fox and the hound) that became best friends before they knew that they were not allowed to be. They were forced apart because society says that the hound is only allowed to hunt the fox, they cannot be friends. Copper (hound) left to go learn to hunt and when he came back he warned Todd (fox) that they could not be friends anymore because of these allegations made by society. It hurt, but what hurt more is when Copper actually ended up attempting to hunt down Todd. But, when Copper was in trouble with a bear, Todd showed that friendship triumphs all. And that is the message that we are sending to little kids. We are telling them that keeping these life long friendships and developing relationships is one of the most important things they could ever do (Side note: as a communication major this is actually scientifically proven to be true).
Now that I am grown up, I can clearly see that this movie also implicates the issue of race into it. Although the 1980s are not known entirely as being a huge time for racial movements, it was still a delicate time for race and racial issues. African American’s still did not have equal rights (in fact, they still do not to this day) and this movie was trying to release the message to kids that while friendships are important, it is even more important to drop past discriminations of what society is telling you and be friends with everyone despite race. This message clearly went over the heads of children—I didn’t get it until this year—because it is one that is very profound. But, maybe in this case Disney was not trying to reach the children with this message? Disney could have been attempting to reach the parents because after all they are our society. Our thoughts and actions and views come directly from them. So, it’s very possible that Disney is reaching out to our parents and saying that controlling our intimate relationships because of race, or because of society’s thoughts on race, is wrong.
But then there is the issue of Animal Rights in the movie. First, Todd’s mother was shot and killed by a hunter in the beginning of the movie. Next, Todd was shot at multiple times by their neighbor. After that, Copper and Chief were both tied up to barrels and left outside all day everyday (which I am completely against because pets are family). Then, his owner kept Todd inside and he is a wild animal so that is cruelty, and after that Todd was driven out to an animal reserve where he was dropped off. Todd has been babied by this owner his whole life, and in reality if he was just dropped off in the wild he would essentially be left to die. And the list goes on and on with an inclusion of more gun firing, actual fire, and bear traps. It is hard to “understand how people can watch these cute characters…suffer in real-life situations, and then continue to partake in the cruelty,” (Lauritsen, “Do Disney Movies Have an Animal Rights Agenda?”) but how can they not continue to partake in the cruelty? Disney never clearly tells that the animals’ rights in this movie were in question. I know that it is wrong, and most people with hearts and a love for animals know its wrong, but there is always the outlier that does not see how this is wrong. People like Michael Smith who states “the animal rights movement is based on a fundamentally wrong premise – that animals are basically the same as people – its recommendations and demands should be ignored” (Lauritsen, “Do Disney Movies Have an Animal Rights Agenda?”). That is the down fall to this movie, it shows that animals have feelings towards each other and can be friends, but it never actually shows that animals are capable of being family to the hunter, they are just tools, objects, and fur.