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Subaru. Rejects Live Animals in Ads. Joins Puma and Honda.

What a coincidence. I have been seriously considering buying a Subaru Outback 2008, and today I learned that PETA had been after the company for using apes in their advertisements. I seldom watch television and so I haven't seen the ads, but PETA reported that Subaru used a chimpanzee dressed in trunks and carrying a clipboard in a recent limited-edition spot for its Small Tent, Big Event Sale. The ad also included a live deer. PETA's Kristie Phelps, who focuses on animals in entertainment for the advocacy group, sent a letter to Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for Subaru who reacted favorably to the notice.

PETA requested Mahoney to watch a video narrated by actress Anjelica Huston. It details the abuses suffered by great apes who are forcibly taken from their mothers as babies, beaten up during training. They are then warehoused at about age eight when they become too strong for human handlers.

Evidently, Subaru executives called a meeting and decided to stop using the apes for their ads. Phelps argues that “There is simply no way to train chimps and orangutans without domination and fear... Many of the chimps we see in films wind up living in cramped, filthy cages.” Subaru joins Puma and Honda in not using apes in their advertising campaigns.

What can companies do instead of using live animals? Well, there is computer-generated imagery. PETA cites that this modern imagery was used in “Jurassic Park” and the remake of “King Kong” without entailing animal form of animal cruelty.

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