Meteor ‘orang-utan’ TV ad riles animal rights groups

Irish mobile phone company Meteor has been slammed by animal rights groups for using an orang-utan in its latest television ad.

A coalition of more than 30 international animal protection organisations has written to Meteor demanding that the ad, which features an orang-utan called Harry, is pulled.

However, the company says it intends to continue showing the ad, pointing out that there was a certified animal safety representative present during filming.

In recent years, companies including Grolsch, Halfords and PG Tips, have stopped using great apes in TV ads and several other companies have stopped using animals.

Chief consultant to the UN Great Ape Survival Project (Grasp) Ian Redmond says: “The Irish government has contributed to the work of Grasp, for which we are grateful, but it is incongruous for an Irish company to then hire an endangered animal for use in its advertising.

“The use of great apes in this way causes a great deal of harm to the hard work of conservation organisations.”

In a statement, the mobile phone company says: “Meteor does not condone the mistreatment of any animals and the use of Harry was not intended to cause offence. The use of animals in advertising is as old as advertising itself and today animals are featured in a huge number of campaigns for a varied and diverse number of brands.”

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