August 25, 2009
EU-Funded Monkey Advert Pulled
HSI UK has secured the commitment of the European Commission to replace a television advertisement that featured a monkey on a leash.
The trade in non-domesticated exotic animals, including primates, is currently a major animal welfare problem within the European Union and HSI is keen to see an end to the supply of these types of animals for the pet and entertainment industries. Indeed, the illegal pet trade is an important concern of the European Commission.
HSI was troubled when we were alerted to a EU-funded television advertisement, being broadcast across the European Union, showing a collared monkey sitting on a woman’s shoulder and ripping a cigarette packet out of her hand.
Contacting the European Commission, HSI argued that the advertisement was both highly irresponsible and incompatible with EU animal protection policy. Moreover, the advert suggested that the EU condones exotic animals as pets, thus undermining existing efforts to stamp out the cruel exotic pet trade.
This trade can have far-reaching consequences for the wild populations from which these animals are obtained at an early age. Animals involved generally go on to lead miserable lives in captivity.
Whether taken from the wild or born in captivity, primates are totally unsuitable as pets.
Classified as endangered
Barbary macaques, a species similar to the monkey exploited in the EU funded advert, are the most common victims of the illegal trade in exotic pets in Europe. Young Barbary macaques are smuggled from Morocco to Europe on a relatively large scale. The trade in these animals is so extensive that it has threatened the very survival of the species in their native Atlas Mountain habit. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has consequently classified the Barbary macaque as endangered on its Red List.
HSI was pleased to receive a response from the Commission, reiterating that “animal protection, and in particular illegal pet trade” is “an important concern at the European Commission.” The Commission has now requested that its agency replace the monkey advert.