For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – In the wake of Major League Baseball’s new rules—which require bigger bases and the first-ever pitch clock—PETA is calling for an additional change ahead of the Los Angeles Angels’ 2023 home opener: retiring the team’s outdated “Rally Monkey” tradition, which includes airing exploitative footage of a monkey during games and occasionally forcing live capuchin monkeys to participate in photo ops and public appearances. In a letter sent today to Angels owner Arte Moreno, the group notes that public events can cause severe distress for monkeys—who are prone to biting in stressful situations—and that using even archival footage of monkeys dressed in clothes encourages people to see them as playthings rather than intelligent, highly social animals with complex needs.
“Airing this type of content on your jumbotron could increase the public’s desire to own these animals as ‘pets,’ which would fuel unscrupulous dealers who mass-breed primates and sell them with no consideration for their welfare,” writes primatologist and PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “Since the tradition of exploiting monkeys is nothing to cheer about, we urge you to retire the ‘Rally Monkey’ and instead rely on cruelty-free options such as a human in a monkey costume or a monkey puppet with an animal rights message.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Moreno follows.
Dear Mr. Moreno:
I’m writing again on behalf of PETA and its millions of members and supporters globally—including more than 182,000 in Los Angeles County—to urge you to end the Angels’ tired “Rally Monkey” tradition, which consists of airing exploitative footage of a monkey named Katie at games and occasionally forcing live capuchin monkeys to participate in photo ops and public appearances.
Any live appearances with a monkey can cause these sensitive animals severe distress—as well as pose a danger to the public—and using even archival footage of the animals dressed in human clothes perpetuates a misunderstanding about them and leads spectators to believe that these scenes are cute or funny. Monkeys—including Katie—are still being exploited in Hollywood, and it’s standard practice to use violence and psychological domination to force them to perform.
Airing this type of content on your jumbotron could increase the public’s desire to own these animals as “pets,” which would fuel unscrupulous dealers who mass-breed primates and sell them with no consideration for their welfare—or for the law, since private possession of monkeys is illegal in California. In fact, PETA sounded the alarm over singer Chris Brown’s illegal possession of a monkey in the state, which led to the termination of the license of one of the country’s most notorious primate breeders after he pleaded guilty to trafficking primates.
Monkeys are intelligent, highly social animals with complex needs. When used for entertainment or kept as “pets,” they’re torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, which can cause lifelong trauma. And because monkeys can and will bite humans—either due to stress or simply because it’s the nature of these wild animals to do so—many of them are dumped at shady roadside zoos, where they’re denied proper exercise, healthy diets, and adequate veterinary care.
Since the tradition of exploiting monkeys is nothing to cheer about, we urge you to retire the “Rally Monkey” and instead rely on cruelty-free options such as a human in a monkey costume or a monkey puppet with an animal rights message. Or forgo the monkey theme altogether and consider creating a costumed Angelfish mascot who would teach children about these fascinating animals.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Debbie Metzler, M.S.
Director of Captive Animal Welfare