Universal Studios Ends Use of Primates in Live-Animal Shows

Parks' Decision Comes After PETA's Pleas and Amid Growing Opposition to the Use of Primates for Entertainment

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hollywood, Calif. – The last exhibitors in the United States that still forced orangutans to perform on stage—Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando—have officially removed all primates from their “Animal Actors” shows. The move comes after years of appeals by PETA, which has called on NBCUniversal to stop using primates in the shows since 2009.

To thank NBCUniversal for joining the quickly growing number of businesses that refuse to exploit apes for entertainment—including each of the top 10 advertising agencies in the U.S.—PETA has sent the company’s executives a box of vegan chocolates.

“NBCUniversal made the right call in ending the use of primates in its live shows,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Savvy and kind entertainers realize that the right decision—for animals and for business—is to shun exploitation of these sensitive, intelligent animals.”

As revealed in PETA’s award-winning video short “98% Human,” orangutans and other great apes used as “actors” are typically torn away from their loving mothers, causing trauma to both infant and adult. A primatologist who spent 14 months working undercover for a California facility that trained great apes for the entertainment industry found that trainers were kicking, punching, and beating chimpanzees. At around 8 years of age, the animals generally become unmanageable and are routinely discarded at decrepit roadside zoos.

In addition to the top 10 ad agencies in the U.S., many other companies—including Volkswagen, Capital One, and Burger King—have banned the use of great apes in their ads. And in Hollywood—with films such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Avatar, and Noah—the trend is to use exclusively digital effects to portray animal characters such as great apes.

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