PETA weighs into animal cruelty row on Wolf of Wall Street

40,000 sign petition from animal rights group.

DiCaprio... PETA takes aim over chimp scenes (Copyright: Universal)

Animal rights group PETA has now weighed in to the animal cruelty row bubbling around Leonardo DiCaprio and alleged 'animal cruelty' in his latest film 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.

A petition denouncing DiCaprio's actions and asking him to agree never to work with apes again has so far been signed by 40,000 people.

[DiCaprio: Wolf of Wall Street is a 'hynotic ride' on a 'giant ship of greed']

In the film, DiCaprio plays hell-raising banker Jordan Belfort, who in one scene throws a raucous party which features a dressed chimpanzee, played by an ape called Chance.

“Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo DiCaprio should know better than to support well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment,” said PETA primatologist Julia Galluci in a statement.

[Leonardo DiCaprio movie accused of abusing chimpanzee]

“PETA hopes that the next time Leo receives a script with an ape ‘actor’ in it, he’ll remember that these sensitive animals are stolen from their mothers at birth and subjected to physical abuse, and he’ll demand a rewrite.”

It added that the chimp concerned was provided to the production by the Rosaire family, which it claims is 'notorious for operating a traveling circus that forces chimpanzees to perform cruel and unnatural acts'.

So far neither DiCaprio nor director Martin Scorsese has commented on the statement.