Sears recently launched a new advertising campaign
featuring a capuchin monkey. One advertisement showed the monkey being given as a gift on Mother’s Day and when released from a box wildly careened around the room causing damage. While the commercial may have been amusing, using live animals in advertising involves suffering and sometimes death.
The American Humane Association, the organization that monitors the use of animals on television and movies, has gone on record saying that for commercials, the window to assign representatives to look after the safety of the animals on set is very small, and therefore difficult to guarantee. Even if no harm comes to the animals during filming, monkey “actors” are placed in confinement and subjected to forcible coercion to make them perform the type of actions demanded by their “role.” When many of these animal “actors” reach adulthood, trainers sell them off to live the rest of their lives in substandard facilities and only a few are eventually retired to humane sanctuaries.
Sears is already aware of the risks of using wild animals for commercials. In March, a whitetip shark died shortly after filming a commercial for K-Mart, a subsidiary of Sears. The shark suffered through a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles and was then subjected to actors jumping in and out of its pool during filming. The resulting stress was certainly a factor in the shark’s untimely death just hours after the filming finished. There is no need to contribute to the abuse of animals in order to sell goods.
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