Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Costa told to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ with their use of primates in TV ad

Posted: 7 October 2010. Updated: 7 October 2010

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has been dismayed to learn that this evening, Costa Coffee will be airing a TV ad featuring 16 monkeys.

In clear exploitation of Rhesus and Squirrel monkeys, Mandrills and Marmosets, the advertisement entitled ‘Monkeys and typewriters’ tries to amuse and entertain by taking a tongue in cheek look at monkeys attempting to make the perfect coffee.

Produced by the Karmarama agency with the monkeys having been supplied by Oxfordshire-based Amazing Animals, ADI is of the opinion that the advertisement will not be in the running for any welfare, artistic or good taste industry awards any time soon and is sure that others will agree.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said that all the advertisement actually achieved was to mock the primates and embarrass the company.
“ADI and the majority of the general public will be appalled and bemused by this advertisement, and at a loss to understand Costa’s motivation. At a time when 48% of primate species are endangered, this is an incredibly misguided advert, as it validates the trade in primates and their use in human entertainment,” Jan said.

“The use of wild animals in advertisements has never been acceptable and more and more companies have realised this and wouldn’t dream of using them – there are plenty of alternatives, including computer-generated images,”
Jan said.

ADI’s expertise in the use of animals in the entertainment industry through extensive investigations, studies of the scientific evidence and primate trade over many years, have highlighted the deprivation and suffering of these animals when they are used for entertainment.

There are serious welfare and conservation issues with the use of primates in entertainment: Firstly, the animals are taken away from their mothers at an early age in order to bond them with humans and make them reliant upon humans rather than their own kind. All affection and approval available to the young animal is only through the human trainer. For such intelligent and sensitive creatures, this sets up psychological and behavioural problems for the remainder of their lives.

Secondly, these animals are deprived of all the normal social and mental stimulation that monkeys enjoy. They live in barren environments and are effectively simply stored until wanted for a performance. Their compliance is gained through withdrawal of affection, food and/or water and when considered necessary, sometimes violence.

The use of sixteen primates for this ad blatantly contradicts Costa Coffee’s “A cupful of responsibility” program. Their literature states: It is said that “At Costa, we’re as passionate about being a responsible business as we are about great coffee. So we’re doing all we can to make sure that serving a perfect coffee means serving a more responsible one.”

The use of primates by Costa on this ad perpetuates the primate trade and validates the use of primates for entertainment. It gives the false impression that there are no conservation issues in taking animals from the wild. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has announced that 48% of all primate species are now either endangered, or critically endangered. In order to maintain supplies of animals (even for captive breeding programmes), animals are constantly being taken from the wild. This causes devastation to wild populations and to the environment which relies upon their participation in the balance of nature.

This is the opposite of responsible business practice, and Costa should be ashamed. Exploiting intelligent, sensitive animals from wild species sends entirely the wrong message about how we should interact with endangered species. We fully support creative entertainment using human performers, or CGI, but this should not include the use of animals that have no choice in the matter.

The company have tried to assure ADI that ‘the monkeys enjoyed the shoot’ and were carefully cared for and monitored. However, it is clear from the advertisement that it is disrespectful, undignified and inhumane.

Our undercover investigations have shown that in the main, any discipline or abuse of captive primates used for entertainment tends to occur off the set and behind the scenes, while the animals are being trained or kept isolated in their cages. This makes it almost impossible to ensure that a performing animal has not suffered in the past, in order to prepare it to perform. The claim that the animals were treated with care on the day of their use in a production does not, and should not, inspire confidence.

“This exploitation leaves a bad taste in our mouths and we implore Costa to commit to stop using performing animals in future adverts,” Jan said.

“Until they make such a commitment, we will be urging anyone who wants a coffee, not to buy Costa. They don’t seem to care about the exploitation of primates in entertainment, so why should you care for their coffee.”


About Animal Defenders International (ADI):
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, Animal Defenders International (ADI) campaigns to protect animals in entertainment; replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. ADI-gathered evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them.

ADI’s Mission: To educate, create awareness, and promote the interest of humanity in the cause of justice, and the suppression of all forms of cruelty to animals wherever possible to alleviate suffering, and to conserve and protect animals and the environment.

Media Contact: Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 0207 630 3344, 07716 018250,

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