Commercials are arguably the best part of Super Bowl Sunday (although Puppy Bowl comes in at a close second). Many of the ads feature animals, and among the lists of best/worst Super Bowl ads, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has created its own list ... for the animals themselves.
Some Super Bowl ads upset not just PETA, but other activists and animal organizations. The Lincoln Park Zoo campaigned this year to stop CareerBuilder.com from airing their commercial featuring chimpanzees -- the zoo has actually been complaining to the company since 2005, when they started using chimps in their Super Bowl commercials, reports the Associated Press.
PETA went so far as to award CareerBuilder.com with their Ass-Backwards Corporation of the Year Award. According to them, "Young chimpanzees and orangutans used in ads, movies, and TV shows are torn from their loving mothers, causing trauma to both infant and adult. The youngsters, who do not understand what is expected of them in a totally unnatural environment, are commonly beaten and electrically shocked behind the scenes and kept in cramped metal cages."
There has been a recent push to keep animals not just out of ads, but also movies and other forms of human entertainment.
Undercover footage released last year allegedly revealed Tai, the elephant used in "Water For Elephants," enduring abuse by trainers. The video shows elephants being beaten with bull hooks and a baby elephant hit over the head. It also allegedly shows elephants screaming out in pain after receiving electric shocks.
The premiere of "Zookeeper" was picketed by animal rights activists after the giraffe featured in the film collapsed and died after wrapping his scenes. According to (disputed) claims by PETA, "Tweet spent the last few months of his life confined to a 20-foot-by-20-foot stall, which was barely large enough for the 18-foot-tall giraffe to lie down in. In their natural habitat, giraffes live in vast home ranges of up to 400 square miles."
Last November, Ringling Brothers agree to a USDA fine for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act, and actress Olivia Munn blogged for HuffPost, "An elephant who reaches out her trunk to another in friendship or for comfort is punished with a whack of a bullhook -- a heavy baton with a sharp point and hook on the end -- the ubiquitous device used by Ringling to keep elephants fearful and compliant."
Check out the slideshow below of PETA's best and worst Super Bowl 2012 commercials for animals:
PETA writes of Careerbuilder.com's Super Bowl ad featuring childish chimp co-workers, "Yes, the chimpanzees are immature -- that's because they're babies who should be with their mothers."
Although a real dog was used in the making of this Super Bowl commercial, animal rights groups are praising this ad for promoting the adoption of stray animals. The ad encourages people to visit Bud Light's Facebook page, where "Likes" will lead the company to donate up to $250,000 to Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation. Mother Nature Network wrote, "Budweiser took the unusual opportunity during a Super Bowl ad for Bud Light beer to not only promote its brand but also to raise awareness for the plight of shelter dogs." PETA wrote to HuffPost, "PETA gives two paws up to Budweiser for its ad promoting the adoption of companion animals by featuring "Weego" the rescued dog in its Super Bowl spot. Six to eight million lost, abandoned, or unwanted animals end up in shelters across the U.S. each year, and approximately half of them are euthanized due to a lack of good homes. Animal lovers should open their hearts to a homeless dog (or two!) if they're able to provide a lifetime of nutritious food, regular veterinary care, long walks, and lots of love."
The Sketchers Super Bowl ad featuring greyhound racing was frowned upon by some animal rights groups. According to Animal Planet, GREY2K USA's Christine Dorchak worried the ad would glamorize a "cruel and inhumane sport." PETA wrote, "The ad was trying to be cute, but greyhound racing, with its legions of abandoned, shot, and starved ex-racers, is about as ugly as it gets."
PETA praised Kia's Super Bowl ad for using a computer-generated rhinoceros instead of a real animal. PETA writes, "Animatronics and CGI technology are so good that sometimes it's hard to tell the real animals from the robots, which is why there's no excuse for dragging real chimpanzees, cheetahs, or other wildlife onto a sound stage."
PETA says Hyundai made a bad choice by featuring a real cheetah in its Super Bowl ad. They write, "Wild animals used for ads often spend most of their lives confined to cages or chains and may be routinely beaten in order to 'show them who's boss.'"