Tuesday, 21 April 2009

PETA Appeal Following the Shooting of a Chimpanzee Who Attacked a Woman Prompts Pledge

PETA Appeal Following the Shooting of a Chimpanzee Who Attacked a Woman Prompts Pledge

For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2009

Kristie Phelps 757-622-7382

Matthews, N.C. -- After learning from PETA that baby chimpanzees and orangutans who are used in advertising are routinely removed from their mothers and abused in behind-the-scenes training sessions, Matthews, N.C.-based grocery chain Harris Teeter has pledged never again to use great apes in its ads. PETA appealed to Harris Teeter after learning that Travis--a 15-year-old, 200-pound chimpanzee who was repeatedly stabbed and eventually shot to death after he critically mauled a Connecticut woman in February--had been used in ads as a juvenile. In 2007, Harris Teeter ran a promotion that featured a chimpanzee.

Using young chimpanzees and orangutans in commercials is inherently cruel. In the wild, great apes stay with their mothers for years, and early separation is traumatic for both the mothers and the infants. Many trainers repeatedly ignore even the minimal care standards that are required by federal law. According to eyewitnesses (including a primatologist who spent 14 months working in a California facility), trainers beat and kick these intelligent and willful young animals and sometimes use electric prods to force them to sit still for hours under hot studio lights and to obey commands that are confusing and meaningless to them.

Chimpanzees and orangutans who are used in ads are usually only a few years old. These great apes can live to be more than 60 years old, but when they reach adolescence at around 8 years old, they become too powerful to control and are often discarded at roadside zoos or are sent to cheap traveling shows.

Harris Teeter joins Subaru, Honda, Keds, PUMA, Yahoo!, SEGA, Young & Rubicam, Levi Strauss & Co., the Ad Council, Gap Inc., and other companies and organizations that have pledged not to use great apes in ads. As a token of its appreciation, PETA has sent Harris Teeter vegan-chocolate great apes.

"Chimpanzee and orangutan infants, like human babies, deserve to be safe and secure with their mothers, not caged and chained alone and scared on a set somewhere," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "As Travis' case proves, beating animals and forcing them to become 'actors' can have terrible consequences."

For more information about PETA, please visit PETA.org.