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In the past, dressing up chimpanzees for human roles created some very appealing TV commercials, which some say the chimps enjoyed doing. But now they know it was a bad idea.
Young chimps who spend time in the human world lose their ability to socialize, groom and just be who they are. After playing the role of Ada in a popular UK tea ad for years, a chimp named Choppers is just now beginning to adapt to normal ape behavior. For years she preferred the company of humans and was shunned by other chimpanzees.
The zoo that received revenue from the ads has since admitted that using them this way was wrong. The zoo’s new leaders now want to educate others about how the practice causes damage to chimps later in life.
Another serious concern, explains ape expert Ian Redmond, is that use of exotic animals in ads makes it seem ok to take them from the wild.
Tell the UK to update its Performing Animals Act to ban this unkind exploitation of animals.
We, the undersigned, say the UK should discontinue the use of animals in advertising.
Apes, which are particularly appealing, are nevertheless endangered, notes Ian Redmond, and their use in advertising has not only been harmful to their ability to integrate with other apes later in life, but it also makes it difficult for the public to understand their risk of extinction.
The fact that the apes may have preferred or enjoyed the company of humans and even participating in the ads, doesn’t make up for the pain and dysfunction they’ve had to face in later life.
Using any animals in a way that is profitable to industry at the expense of the animals’ future well-being and the well-being of their species cannot be justified any longer.
The UK has long led the world in animal protections laws, but it appears it should update its Performing Animals Act. We ask the UK to pass or amend laws to prevent this type of animal exploitation in the future.
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