By Karin Bennett
As they say in showbiz, "It's a wrap." I'm referring to the efforts of PETA and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest to convince Dodge officials to show
that they care about animal "actors" like Suzie, a young chimpanzee who appears in the company's recent ad.
As soon as we learned about the ad, we contacted Dodge's president and CEO, Ralph Gilles, with details about troubling training methods that can include abuse delivered via fists, sticks, and clubs. We also shared information from chimpanzee expert Sarah Baeckler's undercover investigation of a Hollywood training facility. Dodge officials were quick to decide to edit Suzie out of the commercial. And just like that, Dodge joins Travelers Insurance, AT&T, and Europcar, companies that have pulled or altered ads with great apes in just the last month after being contacted by PETA.
There's still reason to be concerned about Suzie's safety: An anonymous whistleblower from the set of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva contacted PETA after witnessing a trainer allegedly pulling on Suzie's hair and ears and yelling so loudly and threateningly that little Suzie cowered and tried to hide. The episode featuring Suzie aired on July 25.
Now we'd like to direct you to "Action!"—for animals, that is. First, please e-mail Dodge to thank the company for being responsive and behaving responsibly in editing Suzie out of its campaign. Then urge Lifetime Television to promise not to exploit chimpanzees for any future television shows.
Here is the original ad: