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 Communications & Policy Officer at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.