CareerBuilder debuted a new commercial during the Super Bowl featuring chimpanzees, which may mean good news for CareerBuilder, but it definitely means bad news for chimpanzees.
CareerBuilder used chimpanzees in many of its early commercials, but then ceased that particular ad series and retired the chimps that had been in them. Their decision to use the apes in their Super Bowl ad this year was a considerable ethical backslide for the company.
The company produced its ad in-house and insists that the chimps were treated well. This is always the claim of those who exploit animals for their entertainment, and it is at best bending the truth and at worst an outright fabrication.
Eighteen firms say no more
Eighteen large advertising firms have pledged to stop using apes in their ads since 2008, and the list will presumably continue to grow. Some larger firms, however, have held out despite pressure from animal advocates.
The biggest problems with using chimpanzees in advertisements isn’t one that many people know about. Beyond the treatment of the apes while they’re performing, it is the way they are acquired and how they’re cared for after retirement that are the biggest problems.
Get ‘em while they’re youngSimply put, an adult chimpanzee is too strong and too dangerous to work with, so all chimps that you see in advertisements are quite young, which necessitates taking the chimps from their mothers prematurely.
Separating mothers from children is a common motif in the exploitation of both animals and humans. Dairy cows have their children taken from them to become veal, African slavery split up families in America, and in order to make CareerBuilder more money, the company separates young chimps from their mothers.
After the chimps have grown to adulthood, they can no longer perform and usually the only option is to turn over their care to a sanctuary. Because of the special care required by retired performing chimps, it can cost around $20,000 a year to care for the chimps.
Additional studies have shown that when people are accustomed to seeing chimpanzees performing, they are less likely to perceive them as endangered and less likely to want to help preserve the species. All four subspecies of chimpanzee are endangered and are considered a priority species by the WWF (World Wildlife Federation).
CareerBuilder says that their business has been down since they stopped using chimpanzees in their ads and that people constantly asked “when they monkeys were coming back” (chimps are not monkeys, but apes).
A high costSo what is the cost of CareerBuilder’s bid to help their profit margin? The cost is young chimps taken from their mothers, confined and forced to perform for human amusement, and then retired when they’re no longer useful. The cost is hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the chimps in sanctuaries. The cost is a huge blow to public awareness and concern for the plight of chimps worldwide.
If you ask me, that’s far far too high of a cost.
Photo: Rennett Stowe
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