Hallmark Ceases Production and Sale of Chimpanzee Greeting Cards After PETA Exposes Alleged Exploitation at Missouri Primate Foundation

Hallmark Ceases Production and Sale of Chimpanzee Greeting Cards After PETA Exposes Alleged Exploitation at Missouri Primate Foundation

Hallmark, the renowned card manufacturer, has officially halted the production and sale of greeting cards featuring grinning chimpanzees.

This move comes eight years after PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) exposed what they termed as the ‘exploitation and imprisonment’ of chimpanzees at the Missouri Primate Foundation.

The decision, announced earlier this month, aligns Hallmark with other card companies and major retailers, including American Greetings, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart, all of whom have banned such depictions.

PETA’s Persistent Campaign and Company Response

PETA took an active role in urging Hallmark to cease the sale of cards featuring chimpanzees.

The animal rights organization organized demonstrations near Hallmark’s Kansas City headquarters, ran ads, and garnered celebrity support, including actress Judy Greer. Tens of thousands of supporters joined PETA’s mission, writing letters to Hallmark.

The pressure extended beyond PETA, with drug stores ceasing to sell cards with controversial depictions, influencing Hallmark’s decision.

Exposing the Grim Conditions: PETA’s Investigation in 2016

In 2016, PETA released a video exposing the alleged horrid conditions at the Missouri Primate Foundation, titled ‘Hallmark profits from abused chimpanzees.’

The footage revealed chimpanzees kept in tiny cages amid feces and trash. The Missouri Primate Foundation was described by PETA as a hub for the cruel trade in chimpanzees for both ‘pets’ and entertainment.

Among the chimps was Connor, known for his toothy smile on Hallmark cards, who had been part of Hallmark photo shoots since infancy.

Chimps’ Distress and Impact on Conservation Efforts

PETA highlighted the distressing conditions, asserting that consumers buying cards were unaware of the grim reality faced by chimps like Connor.

The video depicted distressed chimpanzees subjected to roach and fly infestations, with some pulling their hair out in psychological distress.

PETA claimed the toothy smiles captured on cards were expressions of fear and stress, not delight.

The concern extended to how such images fueled black-market demand for chimpanzees as ‘pets,’ endangering wild populations.

Tragic Consequences: Travis and Connor’s Stories

One tragic incident involved Travis, born at the Missouri Primate Foundation, later sold as a pet, and involved in a violent attack in Connecticut.

Another chimp, Connor, reportedly became agitated during a Hallmark photo shoot, highlighting the detrimental impact on the animals’ well-being.

Rescue and Sanctuaries: A New Beginning for Chimps

In 2021, five years after PETA’s expose, Connor and other chimps were rescued and relocated to sanctuaries, including Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida.

The Missouri Primate Foundation was permanently shut down. Primatologist and PETA Foundation Director Debbie Metzler celebrated the victory, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the power of portrayals and their impact on the lives of endangered species.

TDPel Media

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