CHICAGO (CBS) – The latest CareerBuilder ad featuring chimpanzees is expected to get a lot of laughs during this weekend's Super Bowl. But it's also making some people super mad.
Animal conservationists are upset with the ad because they say it sends the wrong message about the endangered species. They also say it is highly insensitive and exploits a species that could be extinct within the next 50 years.
The ad was unveiled online this week, in anticipation of its debut on television during Sunday's big game.
Not everyone was offended.
"I think it's excellent," Chris Vates, a Lincoln Park Zoo visitor, told CBS 2's Mai Martinez after viewing the commercial. "Any time you see monkeys in people clothes, it's hilarious."
But the zoo's chimpanzee expert, Dr. Stephen Ross, isn't laughing.
"I think what we really want people to think about is the balance between a few seconds of laughing at something that appears funny on the surface and thinking a little bit about what it took to get those few laughs," Dr. Stephen Ross said.
Ross says to get those laughs, chimps are normally taken away from their mothers at very young ages so they can be trained, and the separation scars them for life.
"Primates, especially great apes, really rely on that early time with mothers in order to develop properly as an adult," Ross said.
He says the abundance of chimps in movies and commercials skews the public perception of what is actually an endangered species.
Ross says CareerBuilder should pull the ad.
The company is not budging. In a statement, a spokeswoman says CareerBuilder supports the fair and humane treatment of all animals and the chimpanzees were treated well and not harmed in any way.
"We hired top trainers known to provide the highest standard of care for their animals. We also had a member of animal rights group, the American Humane Association, on set during the entire filming to ensure the chimpanzees were treated with respect. This was very important to us," the statement said.
Click here to download an educational book, "Chimps Should Be Chimps," from Apple and presented by Lincoln Park Zoo. It is compatible with iPads.
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