London, Mar 15: They are promoters of bicycles, designer watches, food or beverages and even undergarments-- chimpanzees have been used at length for commercial gains, which will not be allowed if a group of scientists has its way. Primatologists have attacked the advertising industry for exploiting chimpanees as 'frivolous subhumans' who have been projected as objects of fun and ridicule for the sake of commercial gain.
Dressing up chimps in human clothes or making them perform everyday activities gives people the impression that they are not a species in danger of extinction, yet they are just as threatened as the gorilla or the orang-utan, the Independent quoted the scientists as saying. According to a study, the use of chimps in advertising led to a common misperception by the people that the creatures were not endangered as they were seen on television, advertisements and movies.
In reality chimpanzees have suffered a catastrophic decline in the wild and current estimates suggest the species could be extinct within the next several decades if current declines in its population continue.
Dr Stephen Ross said using chimps in advertisements and entertainment had a darker side. Almost all of the chimps used are juveniles taken away from their mothers at an early age as adult chimps are too big and powerful to train.