Hallmark Cards Comes Under Fire for Selling Chimpanzee Greeting Cards

PETA Wants Company to Pull Cards Featuring Great Ape 'Actors,' Cites Chimpanzee Exhibitor's History of Violating Animal-Protection Law

For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Kansas City, Mo. – Dr. Jane Goodall first revealed that the “smile” exhibited by chimpanzees on greeting cards is actually a fear grimace, which is a sign that a chimpanzee is deeply afraid. That’s the message that PETA has dispatched to Hallmark Cards in a letter urging the company to remove all cards featuring images of “smiling” baby chimpanzees who are forced to wear costumes, wigs, makeup, and sunglasses while performing unnatural types of behavior that distress and confuse them.

PETA has informed Hallmark Cards that great apes used in the entertainment industry are typically taken away from their mothers shortly after birth, causing lifelong psychological trauma to both mother and infant. Physical abuse during training is also standard practice. And the chimpanzees featured on most Hallmark cards were provided by the Missouri Primate Foundation, aka “Chimparty,” a notorious company that has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including by keeping chimpanzees and other primates in cramped cages and failing to provide sufficient sanitation, ventilation, and enrichment.

“No chimpanzee should be forced into a costume and scared to death for a birthday card,” says PETA primatologist Julia Gallucci. “PETA wants Hallmark Cards to help protect these endangered animals by pulling these vile cards from circulation.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that studies show that the inaccurate portrayal of great apes in the media, such as on Hallmark greeting cards, seriously hinders conservation efforts and may also increase the demand for these dangerous animals as “pets.”

The top 10 ad agencies in the U.S. have banned the use of great apes in their ads, and Pfizer, Capital One, AT&T, Dodge, and many other companies have pulled ads featuring great apes. Universal Studios no longer allows orangutans in its live theme-park shows. In addition, Sellers Publishing recently pulled all “RSVP”-branded cards featuring great apes from circulation.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind