Online personalised card and gift retailer Moonpig has pledged that it will stop selling cards that feature images of captive chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates, and removed all existing products that do so following complaints from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
The open letter from PETA, which is available on request here, highlights the fact that great apes used as ‘actors’ or kept as pets, are often taken from their mothers shortly after birth, a traumatic experience that frequently leads to neurotic behaviour and even self injury in adulthood.
Last year the University of Edinburgh published a study that concluded the use of primates in the entertainment industry is unethical because it “damages their welfare by fooling the public into thinking they are happy in human environments.”
Respected primatologist and anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall DBE welcomed the change, telling The Telegraph: “For years chimpanzees have been abused by the entertainment trade and it is good news that Moonpig have made the decision to stop using them in inappropriate ways on their cards. Let’s hope that this inspires others to follow suit.”
PETA director of corporate projects Yvonne Taylor commented: “By banning images of captive great apes in unnatural situations, Moonpig has made a huge difference for non-human primates, both in the wild and in captivity.
“Advertising agencies and film and television producers have already moved away from using these harmful images, and we hope other card manufacturers follow the company’s compassionate lead.”