With push from PETA, animal crackers bust out of their cages

The redesigned box of Nabisco Barnum's Animals crackers - sans cages - on the shelf of a local grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 20, 2018. | Associated Press photo by Charlie Neibergall, St. George News

CHICAGO — After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of animal crackers are roaming free.

Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnum’s Animals crackers in response to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Previous design of boxes of Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animals crackers – pictured in cages – in Chicago, Aug. 20, 2018. | Associated Press photo by Kiichiro Sato, St. George News

PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, wrote a letter to Mondelez in the spring of 2016 calling for a redesign.

“Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats,” PETA said in its letter.

Mondelez agreed and started working on a redesign. In the meantime, the crackers’ namesake circus – Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey – folded for good. The 146-year-old circus, which had removed elephants from its shows in 2016 because of pressure from PETA and others, closed down in May 2017 due to slow ticket sales.

The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages – implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus – the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.

“When PETA reached out about Barnum’s, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary,” Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, said in a statement.

Mondelez is based in Illinois, which passed a statewide ban on circuses with elephants that went into effect in January. More than 80 U.S. cities have fully or partially banned circuses with wild animals, according to Animal Defenders International.

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said she’s celebrating the box redesign for the cultural change it represents.

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows.”

Nabisco has been making Barnum’s Animals crackers since 1902. It has redesigned its boxes before, but only for limited-time special editions. In 1995, it offered an endangered species collection that raised money for the World Wildlife Fund. In 1997, it offered a zoo collection that raised money for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. And in 2010, it worked with designer Lilly Pulitzer on a pastel-colored box that raised money for tiger conservation.

The company won’t say how many boxes it sells each year. Canadian boxes already had a different design and aren’t affected.

Written by DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Business Writer.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Blemonds August 21, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I for one will sleep better at night knowing that the animals on the animal crackers boxes are now able to roam free. Living with the knowledge that they were caged before kept me up at night

  • Kilroywashere August 21, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Oh please, how ridiculous can you get. Go to the Myanmar border town where they sell every animal part on the planet in open stalls to the Chinese tourists. And please PETA, stay away from the frosted pink and white animal cookies. I know the animal crackers dont deserve such humiliation, but you’ll kill the taste. Let’s hope they don’t have acute traces of round up weed kilker in them either. But that wouldnt matter to PETA…

  • chris keele August 22, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Thanks to peta and these types of ridiculous liberal morons, we all suffered the loss of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus after 146 years, another tradition we are not going to be able to share with our grand children and the generations to come, I am really tired of a few progressive nut jobs in this Country imposing their will on all the rest of us.

    • Striker4 August 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      I’m glad somebody stepped up and put a stop to people abusing animals in the name of entertainment and profiteering….

      • Real Life August 22, 2018 at 7:44 pm

        Those are some big words for you Dumpster.

    • An actual Independent August 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Actually, it’s thanks to the fact that nobody was buying tickets to the circus anymore. Horribly outdated and not even entertaining.

  • DRT August 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

    If there was ever a need to show how frivolous and dumb these groups are, this has done a fine job of proving the point.

    Hungry? Eat a peta!

  • hiker75 August 22, 2018 at 11:34 am

    I never noticed the bars but I do like it better without.

    St Geo News, when do you post national news? Did not read anything about Cohen and Manafort. Did I miss it?

  • Icomments2 August 22, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    I’m still biting their heads off first!!! Stupid PETA

  • Mike P August 23, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Off subject here but the box says “different look, same great taste” If you look at the ingredients, their not the “same” as they were years ago, and they don’t taste the same. and there were no preservatives. Just sayin’

    • DRT August 23, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Sheesh, I thought they were terrible, even when I was a kid. If they are not as good as they used to be…

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