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PETA urges Asian agencies not to use apes in ads

Animals rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has contacted agencies in Asia asking them to refrain from using apes in advertising.

A letter from PETA Asia-Pacific’s VP of international operations Jason Baker points out that BBDO, DDB, TBWA, McCann Erickson, JWT, Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi have pledged not to use apes in ads, and others should follow suit.

Ogilvy and Saatchi’s pledges are only for the Americas, and have not promised not to use apes in Asia.

BBDO created an ad for PETA featuring a CGI ape to oppose the use of real animals in ads in May.

The letter from Baker reads:

Chimpanzees and orangutans used for advertising are taken away from their highly protective mothers shortly after birth, causing irreversible psychological harm. Undercover investigations have documented that physical abuse of ape “actors” during preproduction training is standard practice. When these sensitive animals reach adolescence, around 7 or 8 years old, they become too strong and dangerous to handle, and trainers discard them so that they can make room for new baby apes. The discarded animals, who can live into their 50s and 60s, typically end up in seedy roadside zoos or other substandard facilities, where they may be kept alone in a small cage for decades.

PETA has also launched a website where agencies and content producers can take The Great Ape Pledge, and affirm not to use apes in their productions.

The animals rights group points out that brands such as Samsung, Dodge, Travelers Insurance, Pfizer, Europcar and Capital One have pulled or modified ads featuring apes, and the likes of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Johnson & Johnson and Levi’s have adopted policies that ban the use of apes in ads.

The email includes a link to a video explaining the damage using apes in ads can cause these animals, narrated by Anjelica Huston.

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