Ask CareerBuilder.com not to use real chimpanzees in advertisements
Please add your name to the letter below to let CareerBuilder’s CEO Matt Ferguson and North American President, Brent Rasmussen know that you disagree with their use of live chimpanzees in advertisements for CareerBuilder.
To: Matt Ferguson, CEO, CareerBuilder.com
Brent Rasmussen, President, North America, CareerBuilder.com
From: Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
Members and Friends of the Jane Goodall Institute
Dear Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Rasmussen,
I recently became aware of your plan to air a new CareerBuilder.com ad featuring real chimpanzees during the Super Bowl on February 5, 2012. I am writing to ask you to reconsider your use of chimpanzees in CareerBuilder advertisements.
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. I want to share with you some relevant information about the use of chimpanzees in the entertainment industry.
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.
Chimpanzees evolved in the tropical forests of Africa, and that's where they're suited to live, roaming in groups of their own kind. Like human children, infant chimpanzees learn by watching adults and imitating their behavior. They learn in a social context. And 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.
The use of chimpanzees for advertising and other forms of entertainment is entirely at odds with the chimpanzees’ normal life and habits and creates terribly wrong perceptions about these amazing creatures. Do you realize that the chimpanzee's smile so often seen on TV is actually a grin of fear? These trained performers suffer greatly for our amusement.
Because performing chimpanzees are young (the adults are far too large, powerful and potentially dangerous), people have the impression that these apes are small, cute and cuddly. They can have no concept of the majesty of the full-grown animal. And it is this unrealistic picture that perpetuates the continued buying and selling of young chimpanzees as "pets."
Many people don't realize chimpanzees are endangered in the wild, as are all the other great apes. In fact, their numbers have declined from roughly 1-2 million when I began my research on their behavior more than 50 years ago to fewer than 300,000 today. Chimpanzees are losing habitat, in part because of commercial logging and also because of encroachment by ever-growing human populations who live in poverty and cut down the forest to grow crops and graze cattle. In some countries in Africa, chimpanzees are killed for their meat, a practice that is believed to have led to the human strains of HIV.
Yet, recent research has shown that, when audiences see chimpanzees on TV or in the movies, they are led to believe that wild populations of chimpanzees are stable and healthy. This and other research has confirmed that use of captive chimpanzees in advertising and entertainment in the United States negatively impacts efforts to conserve the species in the wild.
Considering the ever-improving technologies of animatronics and computer-generated imagery, there is really no justification for forcing these amazing creatures to suffer for our amusement or gain. I hope you'll join the growing number of businesses that refuse to sanction or participate in this abuse of a magnificent species that is vulnerable to exploitation precisely because they are so like us.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute
UN Messenger of Peace