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Bo Derek Speaks Out Against Owning Wild Animals

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This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, a new "Factor" feature called "What's Your Beef?" From time to time, we will bring in prominent Americans to sound off on what's bothering them. A simple concept. We'll see if it works.

First up, actress Bo Derek, who is outraged that a Connecticut woman was badly mauled by a chimpanzee. That woman is still fighting for her life in a Cleveland hospital. Ms. Derek herself was also injured by animals while filming the movie "Tarzan."

Click here to watch the interview!

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'REILLY: So Ms. Derek, you made a movie called "Tarzan," and you had some rough experiences with the animals. And then in the year 2000, you, Tipi Hedren and Melanie Griffith lobbied for federal legislation to protect people against wild animals. Tell us about that.

BO DEREK, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: Well, we share something in common in that all three of us have been mauled on a movie set by wild animals. And in my "Tarzan" film, I was — the python did the whole constricting thing on me. I was mauled. I still have a scar on my shoulder from the lion. The chimps, I was always running away from them. I had my sister on set, and it was, "Run, Bo, run!"

O'REILLY: You actually got bit by a lion?

DEREK: Yes, I was bitten, actually. He didn't have his claws. But he got me down on the ground and went to take off my shoulder. And he was a little too far back, so he just closed it...

O'REILLY: Where was this set? Where was that?

DEREK: We were in the Maldives Islands on a beach.

O'REILLY: OK. So you knew...

DEREK: If it isn't — but if it weren't for the waves coming in — I was right at the shoreline — he would have been moved up and taken my whole shoulder off. In "Tarzan" movies of the future, we're going to have to use computer-generated animals, in my opinion.

O'REILLY: Just like they did in the Will Smith movie, "I Am Legend."

You worked with a chimpanzee in "Tarzan."

DEREK: I did.

O'REILLY: That's a — he's a central character. Did he rough you up? What kind of a relationship did you have with him?

DEREK: I produced this film, so I went in thinking, "What a wonderful experience this is going to be, because I'll be able to work with all these animals. And I love animals. They're going to love me. It's going to be wonderful." It was a horror show. And the way they were treated — I brought in the producer — the animal wrangler with the screenplay writers, put them together to write scenes that would take advantage of lions and pythons and especially chimps. We had an orangutan. Take advantage of what they do naturally so we wouldn't abuse them, because I had heard of abusive stories. Sometimes they work off food, but mainly these poor animals were working off a sap, a lead-filled stick or slingshots with great big marbles, and they hit their boney little behind. It was horrible.

O'REILLY: So they were — the trainers were disciplining the animals when you were there. Did the chimp bite you or do anything to you?

DEREK: Yes, I had a real bite that drew blood. Most of the time they'd fake bite. They would just get angry and frustrated. And they'd grab me somewhere and, you know, scream and yell, which is frightening.

O'REILLY: On the set of "Tarzan," you got bit by a lion in the shoulder; you got bit by a chimp that drew blood. I hope you got paid a lot for that movie, Ms. Derek.

DEREK: This is the stupidity. When you're your own producer, you do the most ridiculous, insane things.

O'REILLY: Now, final question. You saw the poor Connecticut woman.

DEREK: Yes.

O'REILLY: Her life is altered forever. You believe there should be federal legislation saying no primates in homes?

DEREK: In homes at all. The only place — and breeding. In some states, there are just no regulations. You can buy a big cat, which is a public safety hazard, off the Internet or in the newspaper. And in my world, no more in movies, no more in private homes. It's just — it's a disaster waiting to happen. But I know the woman who owned the chimp loved that chimpanzee and gave it lobster tail and prime rib and whatever. But she — the animal was held hostage. It must be around its own. And in my world, tomorrow I would say everyone please write, not just on a federal level, state, local, your county supervisors. Demand this now, and it can happen.

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