Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alabama company uses live chimps in tv ad: Take Action Now!

The fight to remove chimps from entertainment continues:

Alabama chain, Tire Engineers recently launched a tv ad featuring a live chimpanzee "actor" in an anthropomorphic setting.  This portrayal of an endangered species is inappropriate and will not be tolerated.  The use of live chimpanzees in advertisement scars individual chimps and threatens the survival of the species in the wild.  Become informed.  Read through our article, then Tell Tire Engineers and Means Advertising to stop using live chimpanzees in their ads:

Experts and scientific evidence agree that chimpanzees (and apes in general) have no place in entertainment.  We've summarized some studies that corroborate this claim:

  • A Duke University study demonstrated that viewers who watched ads featuring "entertainment" chimps in humanlike settings were less likely to understand that chimps were endangered.  These viewers were less likely to donate to a conservation charity after watching the ad.  Furthermore, viewers were more likely to believe that they should be allowed to own chimpanzees as pets.  The authors concluded that there was "no positive effect of chimpanzee commercials" and that the use of chimps in entertainment "negatively distorts the public's perception and hinders chimpanzee conservation efforts" (Shroepfer et al. 2011).  Full study here.
  • A joint study by the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes and University of Chicago indicated that people were more likely to assume that wild populations of chimps are stable and healthy after viewing an image of a chimp alongside a human or in a human setting.  In addition, viewers more likely to believe that chimps make good pets after viewing the image (Ross et al. 2011).  Full study here.
  • A statement from the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums calls for an end to the practice of using apes in commercial performance and for the establishment of regulations to ensure that apes are portrayed accurately from a biological and conservation standpoint.  Chimp "actors"are actually young chimps that are removed from their mothers shortly after birth.  These animals would spend years with their mothers in a social setting under natural conditions, but chimp performers are not allowed that. As a consequence, they fail to properly develop both sexually and socially.  This can result in abnormal behavior such as self-mutilation and also prevents any future use of the individuals in conservation breeding or re-introduction efforts.  Furthermore, performer chimps are often forced into compliance using "food deprivation, physical abuse, continuous tranquilization, or even electric shock".  The statement reminded readers that the supposed "smile" of a chimpanzee is an expression of fear that is well documented by researchers.  The statement concludes that the portrayal of apes in human settings "undermine[s] communications vital to achieving conservation" and that "[t]he use of apes in advertisements and other commercial performances can lead people to conclude falsely that apes make good pets."  (AZA 2009).  Full statement here. 

As with Careerbuilder before, we must send a message that it is not okay to use live chimps in ads.  Our goal is to receive a pledge from Tire Engineers promising to refrain from using any live great ape in advertisements.  In addition, we need to send the message to Means Advertising that the use of live apes will not be well-received by the public.  This can only be achieved through consumer pressure. Act to make a difference.

Groups that oppose the use of live chimpanzees in entertainment:

Association of zoos and aquariums. (2009). Retrieved from
Ross SR, Vreeman VM, Lonsdorf EV, 2011 Specific Image Characteristics Influence Attitudes about Chimpanzee   Conservation and Use as Pets. PLoS ONE 6(7):e22050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022050
Schroepfer KK, Rosati AG, Chartrand T, Hare B, 2011 Use of “Entertainment” Chimpanzees in Commercials Distorts Public Perception Regarding Their Conservation Status. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26048. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026048 

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