Talk about a win for animal lovers everywhere — after over a century of Nabisco’s “Barnum’s Animals” crackers featuring a variety of caged circus performers on their packaging, the company just announced that it will be removing images of bound and gagged trapeze artists from all of its boxes and will be replacing them with pictures of unrestrained, wild trapeze artists.
Nabisco parent company Mondelez International finally caved after years of pressure from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Since 1902, animal crackers have featured images of Barnum and Bailey animals and circus performers in various states of confinement. In addition to bound-and-gagged trapeze artists, the boxes typically included a blindfolded juggler tied to a chair, a unicyclist shackled to the floor in a basement, and a human cannonball in a spacious and somewhat accommodating but nonetheless inhumane enclosure.
“The world’s snack companies need to evolve with the times. It is no longer appropriate for imprisoned circus performers to be displayed on food packaging,” said PETA spokesman Jack Knaufson. “I think this is a major win for those of us who have fought to return acrobats, contortionists, and other sideshow clowns to their natural habitat.”
Knaufson added that this is only the first step in convincing companies to change their packaging.
“Eventually, we hope this decision by Nabisco will influence Quaker Oats to remove from their cereal boxes the various press gangs that were forced against their will to serve on Cap’n Crunch’s ships,” he said. “But, for now, I’m happy with the direction we’re headed. There’s nothing more beautiful than a wild tightrope walker freely stepping in the breeze, the way Mother Nature intended.”