This Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, photo shows boxes of Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animals crackers in Chicago. After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of animal crackers are roaming free. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Animal crackers break free from their cages

PETA pressures Mondelez International to show animals roaming in their natural habitats

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 after relenting to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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.

RELATED: Animal rights activists to protest Kelowna’s RibFest launch

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 travelling 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,” said Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, in a statement.

RELATED: Vancouver Aquarium to no longer house whales, dolphins

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 says 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,” she said.

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.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Jumbo’s legal boondoggle continues

Province appealing the BC Supreme Court decision

Good wood; Radium lumbers to top prize

Wood WORKS! BC gives honour to Radium at UBCM

Unsanitary change room conditions exposed at Radium’s hot springs pools

Health inspector felt nothing of concern posed a “serious physical or health risk”

Brewer Creek: a fall classic

Summit Trail Makers Society

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Wartime Wednesdays

Invermere’s Elinor Florence investigates stories from our wartime past

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Most Read