Archive for the ‘Alerts’ Category

Take Action Tuesday: Speak up for Eli chimpanzee

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

EOA take action tuesday

A few weeks ago, we alerted you to a new Comedy Central show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL, with reported footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes. We know now that chimpanzee is Eli, who lives at a training facility called Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife.

One of the actors from the show, Lenny Jacobson, identified Eli in an interview where he talked about the experience filming with a chimpanzee. He mentioned that the trainer on set was missing a finger from a chimpanzee bite—which isn’t shocking given the true nature of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are very strong, and once they become too hard to manage, trainers will discard them at roadside zoos or pseudo-sanctuaries.

big-time-hollywood-chimp-kiss-nosign

Eli’s trainer has a history of dumping former nonhuman ape actors at very decrepit facilities, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo. Eli’s trainers also have repeatedly failed to meet minimal animal welfare standards. (www.eyesonapes.org/eli)

There’s still time to act—the episodes with Eli’s scenes have not aired yet. Please send a polite letter to the producers and to Lenny Jacobson letting them know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

Your letters do work! Another alert we sent out last month regarding a McDonald’s France commercial with Suzy (who lives with the same trainer as Eli) was pulled after they received feedback from Eyes on Apes supporters and other advocacy groups. Great victory! We hope to see Big Time in Hollywood, FL make the same progressive decision.

We’ve set up a sample letter which you can customize as you wish (click here). You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.

Take Action Tuesday! Chimpanzee in new Comedy Central show

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

EOA take action tuesday

Tomorrow night, March 25, Comedy Central is planning to air a new TV show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL. The show’s previews contain footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes.

The show was produced by Ben Stiller, who we hope will respond favorably to your feedback — but please hurry! The show premieres tomorrow and we would like to encourage the production to make sure the chimpanzee scenes are not included in the premiere. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

big-time-chimp-on-lap-nosign

big-time-hollywood-chimp-kiss-nosign

Recently, A&E canceled the show Wild Transport after receiving feedback from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups about the use of chimpanzees in their show. We urge you to encourage Ben Stiller and Comedy Central to make the same progressive decision for Big Time In Hollywood, FL! Send him a letter (c/o his publicist), and let him know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. We’ve set up a sample letter below which you can customize as you wish. You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.

screen-shot-big-time-letter

Take Action Thursday: McDonald’s exploits Suzy chimpanzee in new ad

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

take-action-thursday

A recent advertisement for McDonald’s restaurants in France features Suzy the chimpanzee demonstrating trained behaviors, such as jumping up and down and making “funny” faces. Unfortunately, what Suzy has experienced–and what her future holds–is not funny at all.

suzy-hoot-mcdonalds-nosign

 

Although chimpanzees may appear to have positive, loving relationships with their trainers, this can be deceiving. Trainers often take babies away from their mothers at a very young age and use abusive, fear-based tactics to get chimpanzees to perform. Undoubtedly this environment causes serious psychological harm.

Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife, where Suzy lives, has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards.

suzy-nosign

Suzy was the chimpanzee used in a Dodge commercial five years ago, which was altered after the company learned about the issues surrounding chimpanzees in entertainment. They took an innovative approach and using CGI, removed Suzy’s image from the original ad and changed the voiceover to mention the “invisible monkey.” Dodge also issued a mea culpa about the original commercial, explaining what they learned from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups.

dodge invisible monkey

As Suzy gets older, her future remains uncertain. Martin has a reputation for dumping his former non-human ape actors at facilities with deplorable conditions, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo.

Unfortunately, despite reaching out to McDonald’s, we have not received confirmation that they plan to remove or alter the commercial. We need your help to put the pressure on McDonald’s! Please write a polite letter asking them to remove the ad, and pledge to never work with non-human ape actors again. You may direct your letters to Deborah Wahl (Deborah.Wahl@us.mcd.com), a Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s.

You may also leave comments on McDonald’s France’s Facebook page or send a Tweet to @McDonaldsCorp.

Sample Letter to McDonald’s:

Dear Ms. Wahl:

I was disappointed to hear that McDonald’s France used Suzy the chimpanzee in a recent commercial for Spicy Chicken Wraps.

Suzy lives with a trainer who has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards (www.eyesonapes.org/suzy). Suzy’s trainer has dumped former non-human ape actors at deplorable roadside zoos, and as she is getting older, soon she will be too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Suzy, and others like her, deserve to be in a sanctuary. Help put an end to the use of chimpanzees in entertainment by removing the commercial and making a promise to never work with non-human ape actors again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

If you send an e-mail to McDonald’s, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!

To get these alerts in your inbox, sign up for the Eyes on Apes Take Action mailing list!

Take Action Tuesday: When “cute” animals reveal an ugly truth

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

If you’re reading this, you probably have a love of animals, so when you see videos and photos of animals that make you laugh or melt your heart, you want to share them. Us too! Unfortunately, there’s often an ugly truth behind “cute” videos and photos.

A prime example is the slow loris videos that have circulated. The slow loris is such an adorable primate, and the videos seem to show these animals in a happy environment. But the ugly truth is that these endangered animals are part of the illegal exotic pet trade and the behaviors that may look cute to us are actually signs of fear and stress.

A new example is the Android commercial called “Friends Furever” promoting unlikely animal friendships. Upon first glance, the video clips seem like a heartwarming example of friendship breaking the species barrier, and your first instinct might be to share the commercial with other animal lovers. The ugly reality is that exotic animals such as the orangutan and the elephant seen in the commercial are trained at a very young age (when they should be with their mothers) to pose for photos with humans, and they are forced into relationships with other species for the sole purpose of creating and circulating “cute” photos and videos. The orangutan, Suryia, and the elephant, Bubbles, both live at Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.

android-ad-suryia-roscoe-no-sign

Myrtle Beach Safari, operated by Bhagavan (Doc) Antle, has a history of repeated animal welfare violations. Masked behind what they claim is a sanctuary preserve, the facility regularly exploits their wild animals for a variety of media productions and endangers the public by offering “hands-on” experiences and traveling shows. Apes are wild animals, and without proper enclosures and respect for their true nature, many have attacked and brutally mauled humans.

Just last summer, two young chimpanzees were taken to a movie theater to garner attention for the Safari. Recently, these same chimpanzees, Vali and Sugriva, were seen on an episode of A&E’s Wild Transport, where they were taken to a crowded restaurant—creating yet another public safety risk just for a glorified publicity stunt.

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In that episode, Vali and Sugriva were being transported to a facility in Miami called Jungle Island, where they have special “hands-on” encounters with guests, sometimes celebrities, which gains even more attention for the Safari.

After speaking with Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups about the issues surrounding Vali and Sugriva’s appearance in the show, the A&E Network decided to cancel the series—setting a precedent for other companies to follow.

Unfortunately, actress Hayden Panettiere very recently posted a photo to her Twitter account of her holding the chimpanzee Vali at Jungle Island.

panettiere-vali-jungle-island-no-sign

Images like this with humans in contact with chimpanzees perpetuate the misunderstanding about chimpanzees’ true nature and encourage the exotic pet industry.

Vali, Sugriva, Suryia, and dozens of other exotic animals under Antle’s care are living at a romanticized roadside zoo. These animals deserve better—they deserve a true sanctuary home where they can live out their lives without being shuffled from one exhibition to another.

Companies such as Pfizer have responded favorably when they learned the truth about Myrtle Beach Safari. We’d like to call upon Android to make the same compassionate decision.

We urge you to write to Android and Hayden Panettiere and ask that they remove any material that misinforms the public and promotes the Safari.

You can leave comments on Android’s Facebook page or the post of the Friends Furever video, reply to their tweet on Twitter about the commercial, and reply to Panettiere’s photo on Twitter as well. You can also email Panettiere, c/o her publicist, at carrie.gordon@42west.net . We’ve provided examples of what to write below.

In the big picture, when you see “cute” photos and videos of animals, ask yourself where these animals came from, where they are living now, what their future is likely to be like, and if the behaviors you see are the choice of the animal. You might be able to search and find the answers to these questions, or you might be left with more questions. When in doubt, don’t hit that share or forward button, because you might just be perpetuating exploitative, dangerous, or illegal activity.

Sample Facebook comment to Android:

I was disappointed to see that your new “Friends Furever” commercial promotes pseudo-sanctuaries such as Myrtle Beach Safari, where “unlikely animal friendships” like Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the dog are forced after exotic animals are taken from their mothers at a very young age. In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are eight years old, so you can imagine how important that bond is for them. Not only does the Safari mislead the public into believing that these are “cute” relationships, but they also regularly put people at risk with public exhibitions of wild animals and exploit the animals for entertainment—things a reputable sanctuary would never do. This glorified roadside zoo has also had numerous animal welfare violations (EyesOnApes.org/suryia).

You’re not the first to be duped by this pseudo-sanctuary. Pfizer chose to alter a Robitussin commercial that was originally aired using Suryia, replacing the live animal scenes with realistic, high-tech computer generated images after they learned the truth behind the Safari. I urge you to make the same decision involving the clips of the exotic animals in your commercial. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sample Tweet to Android:

@Android please change #AndroidBFFs ad to exclude clips of animals in roadside zoos. Robitussin did it before! See more at EyesOnApes.org/suryia

@Android “cute” #AndroidBFFs animals reveal an ugly truth. Don’t glorify roadside zoos! See more at EyesOnApes.org/suryia

*Sample email to Hayden Panettiere:

Dear Ms. Panettiere,

I know that you are an animal lover and have spoken out about the dolphin slaughter in Japan. I applaud you for your passion! Because of your obvious concern for animals, I was shocked and disappointed to see a photo of you and a baby chimpanzee named Vali circulating social media. You should know that when people see you holding a baby chimpanzee it perpetuates the cruel pet and entertainment industries. Baby chimpanzees belong with their mothers, and they shouldn’t be shuffled around to exhibitions or hands-on encounters. Vali was reportedly purchased from an animal breeder, and he belongs in a true sanctuary where the focus would be on his needs, not the desire of the public to have photo-ops with him. I urge you to please remove the photo from your social media and pledge to never participate in hands-on experiences with captive wild animals again.

Sample Tweets to Hayden Panettiere:

@haydenpanettier please remove the photo of you and Vali the chimp. He deserves better! Learn more EyesOnApes.org/vali

@haydenpanettier love chimpanzees like you love dolphins – don’t participate in their exploitation! EyesOnApes.org/vali

RT! Tell @haydenpanettier to remove photo of her w/ chimp – they’re wild animals & shouldn’t be used for publicity. EyesOnApes.org/vali

Lastly, please share this alert with friends and family. Change can only happen with more awareness! Thank you for speaking up for apes in need.

*If you email Hayden, please remember to BCC EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!!

Take Action Tuesday! Tell Ramsay to stick to yelling at would-be chefs and leave chimpanzees alone

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

EOA take action tuesday

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently posted photos of himself and his family members holding a baby chimpanzee to his Facebook page. The chimpanzee is showing his or her top teeth in this photo, which is actually a fear grin—not a smile.

Chimpanzees are not pets! They are wild animals who should be with their mothers when they are young, and who are dangerous when they get older. Seeing chimpanzees in close contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated like pets.

We’re so disappointed that Gordon Ramsay is promoting the exotic animal trade rather than using his celebrity status to protect chimpanzees, who are critically endangered in the wild.

We want Gordon Ramsay to remove the Facebook photos of the baby chimpanzee. Please send a polite letter to him, c/o his publicist Staci Wolfe, letting him know that chimps should not be used for photo ops alongside humans. Please urge Ramsay to remove all the photos from his Facebook page and promise to never host a visit with a chimpanzee again.

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You may send your letter to Gordon Ramsay c/o Staci Wolfe at staci_wolfe@polarispr.com

Sample Letter to Gordon Ramsay:

Dear Mr. Ramsay:

I was disappointed to hear that you took photos with your family holding a baby chimpanzee and posted them to your Facebook page. You should know that when chimpanzees show their top teeth it is a sign of distress, not happiness.

Chimpanzees provided for photos ops to pose with humans are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a photo op sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. When people see you holding a baby chimpanzee, they assume that chimpanzees make good pets. Though chimpanzees may seem cute and cuddly when infants, they become dangerous as they get older. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Please make the compassionate decision to remove the photos, and pledge to never pose holding baby chimpanzees again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]

If you send an e-mail to Gordon, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!

Take Action Tuesday: Chance in Wolf of Wall Street

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

EOA take action tuesday

This action alert went out earlier today. Not on the mailing list? Sign up for Eyes on Apes Take Action list today to get these alerts straight to your inbox!

In the upcoming movie Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio is seen holding an infant chimpanzee, Chance. It is especially disappointing because Mr. DiCaprio is known for his passion for animal conservation—most recently he supported conservation efforts to save tigers in Nepal.

Animal advocacy groups have contacted Mr. DiCaprio and the movie producers, however our efforts to reach out have not resulted in Chance’s scenes getting removed from the movie. Now it is time for the public to speak up!

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Chance was once a pet, and his previous owners discarded him to a pseudo-sanctuary called the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. The animal attraction claims to be a reserve for animals, but they regularly exploit their residents for entertainment purposes. In fact, Chance’s owners (the Rosaire-Zoppe family) are the only remaining trainers that continue to use chimpanzees in circuses. No respectable reserve or animal sanctuary would lease out their animals for media productions such as this movie.

Even if the AHA was present for filming, they have no authority over Chance’s treatment off-set, making the “no animals were harmed” disclaimer misleading.

Portraying chimpanzees as cute and cuddly attractions seriously misinforms the public on the true nature of these beings and perpetuates the pet and entertainment industries. Studies have shown that showing chimpanzees alongside humans in film and TV mask their endangered status, and these scenes hurt conservation efforts.

Despite hearing these facts from advocacy groups, the Wolf of Wall Street producers have not removed Chance’s scenes from the movie, which will be released on December 25. We encourage you to please post on the movie’s poster on their Facebook page and Twitter to let them know that because of the issues with Chance’s scenes you will not be going to see the movie, and you will tell all your friends to boycott it with you.

Sample Facebook Post:

I’m boycotting Wolf of Wall Street because of the chimpanzee scenes! Even Hollywood knows that abuse occurs when animals are used in movies (hollywoodreporter.com/feature). Chimpanzees don’t belong in movies unless they are CGI. Chimpanzees are an endangered species and showing them as cute and cuddly props hurts conservation efforts and perpetuates the pet trade.

Sample Tweets:

Pls RT! Join @EyesOnApes and tell @LeoDiCaprio chimps should not be in movies & you won’t see @TheWolfofWallSt!

RT! @LeoDiCaprio I will boycott @TheWolfofWallSt because of Chance’s scenes. Chimps do not belong in movies! EyesOnApes.org

Don’t support animal abuse. Refuse to see @LeoDiCaprio in @TheWolfofWallSt and tell all your friends. EyesOnApes.org Pls RT!

The final thing you can do to help Chance is to spread the word! Please share this alert on social media and encourage your friends to boycott the movie with you.

Take Action Tuesday: Urban Tarzan

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

EOA take action tuesday

The new Spike TV show called Urban Tarzan is all about wild animals found in human environments. Though the series has a whole slew of wild animals, the premiere episode from a few weeks ago featured a young chimpanzee actor. The show is supposed to be a reality series, but everything is scripted and the scenes are all staged.

Chimpanzee "actor" on the premiere episode of Urban Tarzan

Chimpanzee “actor” on the premiere episode of Urban Tarzan

There is a growing public awareness about the ethical problems with using chimpanzees in entertainment. Please remind the producers of the show about these issues by sending them a polite letter. Ask them to remove the episode from the air and pledge to never use primates in their productions again. Your letters can make a difference! In the last couple months both Great Clips and CR Fashion Book have removed content with chimpanzee actors after receiving educational letters from advocates like you!

Let the producers of Urban Tarzan know that brutal training practices in the entertainment industry are well documented. Remind them that in addition to welfare concerns, using chimpanzees in the media seriously hinders conservation efforts of free-living chimpanzees.

You may submit your comments to Spike TV’s Facebook page, or post Tweets that express your concern, such as @1UrbanTarzan very disappointed to see a chimp in your show. Please remove the episode! www.EyesOnApes.org

Sample Letter to Spike TV/Urban Tarzan:

I was extremely disappointed to hear that Urban Tarzan featured a young chimpanzee actor in the first episode. You should know that chimpanzees used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.

The show is supposed to be about rescuing wild animals from human homes, but since it is staged you are not following your own advice! Chimpanzees do not belong in human homes and they do not belong on TV either. Aside from welfare concerns, their appearance in the media seriously hinders conservation efforts. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection?

Please make the compassionate decision to remove the chimpanzee episode from rotation, and please consider to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

Learn More about Eyes on Apes

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

EOA take action tuesday

OK, so this isn’t a real Take Action Tuesday post, but check out that spiffy new banner!

Speaking of new things, you really should go check out the Eyes on Apes website. It’s gotten a whole new makeover with an updated homepage (www.eyesonapes.org) and is chock-full of lots of great information on the Learn More pages. There’s a different page on the each issue that apes face, and they all have links throughout the bullet points—be sure to check those out. There’s some PDFs of scholarly articles and links to conservation strategies and action plans that make for really great resources. Also under the Learn More section is a page about Useful Links, and the name doesn’t lie! Lots of great info on other sites that you can check out to further your education.

I updated the Videos page too, so take a look at those… and also of this one below that we’ve put together to promote the program. Share it with your friends and get them to join Eyes on Apes and make a difference for apes everywhere!

Take Action Tuesday: Another chimp ad + how to help orangutans

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

If you haven’t heard, Great Clips had a commercial a couple weeks ago that featured a chimpanzee. Just a day after our alert went out and folks wrote to them, the CEO made a statement saying they would pull the ad and never work with apes again! Victories like this keep the momentum going—your letter writing really does make a difference! On that note please send a quick message to Steak ‘n Shake, who currently has a commercial with a chimpanzee:

Screen capture of the Steak 'n Shake "ultimate dream" commercial

Screen capture of the Steak ‘n Shake “Daydream” commercial

Click on this link to be taken to the action alert which contains contact information and a sample letter. Be sure to spread the word and forward the alert to your friends! And if you haven’t subscribed to our Take Action: Eyes on Apes Alerts mailing list already, sign up now.

Another way you can help apes right now is to sign this petition to Dr. Oz, who recommended his viewers try using palm oil as a healthy alternative oil. Please let him and his producers know that palm oil production is slowly driving orangutans into extinction! For more information about this issue, take a look at this past Take Action Tuesday post.

Thank you as always for speaking up for these apes. Keep up the great work!

News from the NIH Working Group on Chimpanzees

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

There was an important meeting today in DC, reporting the recommendations of a working group that has been looking very carefully at the federal funding of chimpanzees in research (you can read more about the working group here). Although the recommendations will still be reviewed by the NIH and undergo a public comment period prior to becoming “official,” it’s an exciting change on the horizon for our chimpanzee friends, including Jody’s son Levi.

The recommendations reflect the writing on the wall  – that the US is heading in the same direction that the rest of the world has already gone – toward phasing out the use of chimpanzees in research. While not an outright ban, the recommendations call for a significant number of the chimpanzees owned and supported by the government to be permanently retired. Any research that would be allowed under the recommendations released today would have to occur in vastly different environments than those in which chimpanzees are currently kept. Here are a few main points:

  • Most current biomedical use of chimpanzees should end. Some behavioral and genomic research might be able to continue (pending meeting other new requirements below).
  • The chimpanzees not needed for federal research should be retired to appropriate sanctuaries through the Federal Sanctuary System, and the federal government has an obligation to pay for this retirement.
  • The Working Group carefully and closely defined “ethologically appropriate” conditions, under which all federally owned and supported chimpanzees must be kept. These include physical and social requirements such as group makeup and enclosure size. No current laboratory environment meets these requirements.
  • There is no need for a large reserve colony of chimpanzees to be maintained for “unknown unknowns” – meaning some unexpected virus or emergent disease that we don’t know about yet. They did discuss the need for a small (50 chimpanzees) reserve colony to be housed in one facility and meeting the ethologically appropriate requirements.
  • An independent oversight committee should have final review and approval authority on any chimpanzee research proposals that make it through the NIH funding process. This committee would ensure that any projects being funded meet all of the criteria set forth.

You can read the full report here. Again, it’s not an outright ban. But no one expected that. It is overall a very good set of recommendations that sets very high standards for taking care of chimpanzees, and it signals an impending end to their use and exploitation.  I have to admit that my eyes welled up a little while listening to the meeting, thinking about the potential to help so many more chimpanzees. So much has changed, for the better, since I first started taking care of chimpanzees (over 15 years ago!). I see a day when we’re done with all this stuff, and I never dreamed of that 15 years ago.

It’ll probably be April before the NIH makes a final decision on these recommendations, and we’ll be sure to share links for public comment so that you can lend your voice on behalf of the Cle Elum Seven, their friends and relatives, and chimpanzees across the country.