PETA (People for Extremist Thought and Action) has convinced Nabisco to change the depiction of the cartoon animals on its iconic boxes of “Barnum’s Animal’s” animal crackers. For the past 116 years or so, the boxes showed lions, polar bears, gorillas and elephants, etc., behind the bars of a circus boxcar. PETA had long campaigned against the use of animals in circuses with great success. Circuses themselves are now virtually extinct. So, flush with victory and feeling its oats, PETA wrote a letter to Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International, stating: “Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats,” according to the New York Post.
The company acquiesced as quickly as a Senate Republican. Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, released a statement reading: "When PETA reached out about Barnum’s, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary.” Translation: “We may have caved to those assholes, but what a great opportunity for virtue-signaling!”
Cue “Born Free.” Elsa would be proud. Joy Adamson, too. Two-dimensional drawings of animals on cardboard boxes have been “freed” at last. Thank God A’mighty!
This is a good first step towards emancipating animal images, but there is so much more to do. What about the Energizer Bunny? Eveready forces him (her? they?) to walk around endlessly, banging on a large drum until such time as he (her? they?) or the sun expires.
R.J. Reynolds has used a camel to promote its most popular brand of cigarettes for decades. Cigarettes! That’s sick. As if the “ship of the desert” could traverse the planet’s vast nether-regions without water…as long as it had a hefty supply of heaters.
And the list goes on. Ralph Lauren has long utilized a polo horse in its apparel advertisements. One-percenters harnessing a noble beast for a competition almost exclusively engaged in by white men?! Egads!! The Playboy Bunny? #MeToo!
The Geico gecko, LaCoste’s crocodile, Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s lion, Red Bull, Puma, etc., etc. Where does it stop? And what about sports teams? The Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Wisconsin Badgers. The list goes on and on. The Miami Dolphins stuck a helmet on their poor aquatic mascot’s “head”-- and put the image on its player’s helmets. How degrading!
Surely, we can all agree that we have no right to use the images, depictions or outlines of animals for our own amusement. That is faunal appropriation.
And that is inappropriate.