The Show Stops Now: Chimps Aren’t Entertainment


Internationally, chimpanzees and other great apes are used as props in television, film, circuses, roadside attractions, as pets and as social media share-able content. This cruel business removes chimps from their mothers at an early age, puts them into torturous training programs, asks them to perform unnatural acts, and eventually tosses these beautiful, highly social and perceptive animals aside when they are too large or aggressive to manage.

Baby Dunez 3The YouTube video or advertisement of a chimp in a tuxedo may seem like a fun time for the animal, but is in fact a highly stressful and potentially painful and traumatizing experience for the chimpanzee. We can each choose to stop contributing to the likes and views, and tell the industry that we have had enough.

The use of chimpanzees in the media, in roadside attractions, or other forms of “entertainment,” dressed up in clothes or encouraged to act silly, also allows people to assume that chimps are common, playful pets, and not the intelligent, endangered species that they are. The industry diminishes awareness of threats facing chimpanzees and other animals, and encourages illegal trafficking for the stolen “performers.” Profiting from these demeaning and inexcusable practices and environments is a sad representation of humanity, and it cannot continue.

Anzac and Jeje creditThe stories of chimps orphaned, abused, or killed as a consequence of this industry are countless. With so many of use caring and acting on behalf of wildlife, we must also be conscious of how our entertainment and media choices affect the demand. Once we become aware, through exposure to stories like JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary resident Luc’s (Read Luc’s story here), it is our responsibility to not only speak out for those who cannot, but to do something to make a difference.

The Jane Goodall Institute is asking you to join us in doing something about it.

Ways to act:

*All proceeds benefit JGI’s programs to protect wild chimpanzees, care for rescued chimps, conserve habitat, provide environmental education and so much more

The show stops now – with chimps as an ambassador for other animals in entertainment, and the availability of CGI to produce live-animal alternatives, we are eager to create a lasting change and chance for solace for chimps and all animals by stopping their use in entertainment. With signatures and support from all of you, we will call upon those in the entertainment and advertising industries to take our pledge stating that they will join us in putting a stop to use of these animals in their products, programs and campaigns. We are hopeful that this will be a happy ending to the inexcusable cruelty.

As consumers we can choose not to buy products, share, or participate in media from those who make use of chimpanzees and great apes and together we can create a movement. Next time you see that “cute” YouTube video of a chimp dressed up, don’t share – say something!

About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Director of Storytelling & Marketing for Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is pursuing a Master's of Science in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including 10+ years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking organizations, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces including Greens REALIGN. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to transform hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.