Despite recent controversy surrounding the use of chimpanzees in advertising, Capital One is airing a new commercial that features a chimpanzee "actor." Chimpanzees and other great apes used for advertising are typically very young animals who were forcibly taken from their mothers shortly after birth. They are often physically and psychologically abused during training to ensure that they will perform confusing, unnatural behaviors on cue. By the time apes reach approximately 8 years of age, they are too strong to be safely handled and are often discarded at wretched roadside zoos or other substandard facilities. Chimpanzees can live into their 60s, so life after "retirement" from the entertainment industry often means decades spent in appalling conditions.
The American Humane Association (AHA), which was reportedly on set during the production of the Capital One commercial, only monitors animals when they are on set and does nothing to prevent behind-the-scenes abuse and neglect. The AHA does not monitor pre-production training, the living conditions of animals, premature separation of babies from their mothers, or the disposition of animals when they are no longer useful to trainers.
Ten of the top 15 advertising agencies in the U.S.—including BBDO, Young & Rubicam, and McCann Erickson—now have policies in place that prohibit the use of great apes in their ads. In 2010, Dodge, Pfizer, Heartland Payment Systems, and Europcar pulled or modified ads that featured apes after learning about the ethical problems associated with exploiting these highly intelligent and sensitive animals.
Using the form below, please send a quick, polite note to Capital One and urge the company to follow the lead of other companies by agreeing to pull its commercial featuring a chimpanzee.
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