Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has been working to save chimpanzees for over fifty years, since she first studied and lived among chimps in Tanzania.
Now she and her organization, The Jane Goodall Institute, are asking Careerbuilder to stop using chimps in their commercials. Careerbuilder plans to air their new ad during the Super Bowl this Sunday. She’d like you to sign your name too.
In Goodall’s letter to the job site’s CEO Matt Ferguson, she writes “We appreciate the attempts you have made to ensure that the chimpanzees featured in your ad were treated with respect during production. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the use of chimpanzees in entertainment is inherently inhumane…Chimpanzees used in the advertising and entertainment industries are separated from their mothers as infants. This is truly tragic because in the wild, young chimpanzees stay with their mothers for at least eight years. Only infant chimpanzees are used in advertising and other forms of entertainment because as they approach maturity, at about six to eight years of age, they become strong and unmanageable.”
Goodall adds that because these chimps are taken from their families at such an early age, they don’t learn natural behaviors because baby chimps learn from social context. She writes, “Individuals who have no chance to grow up in a normal group not only fail to learn the nuances of chimp etiquette, but in addition are likely to show abnormal behaviors. These chimps, who can live up to 60 years in captivity, are not accepted by accredited zoos. They tend not to fit into established groups. And so, unless they can be placed in one of the few sanctuaries for abandoned chimps, they will end up in roadside zoos or being quietly euthanized.”
Goodall also warns that commercials and other forms of media give the impression that chimps can safely be kept as pets and that they hide the fact that chimps are endangered in the wild. She also points out that the “smile” we see on chimps’ faces in entertainment is actually a “grin of fear.” She urges Careerbuilder to begin using the “ever-improving technologies of animatronics and computer-generated imagery” instead of live chimpanzees. That’s how the whales in Drew Barrymore’s new film were made. Totally believable puppets.
If you love seeing chimps but want to help them too, you might want to check out DisneyNature’s ‘Chimpanzee,’ as a portion of the first week’s ticket sales will go to the Jane Goodall Insitute for their chimpanzee conservation work.