Animal Crackers go ‘cage-free’

August 23, 2018

Lions, and elephants and zebras, oh my! Just as many chickens have gone “cage-free” in this era, so have the creatures depicted on the packaging for Nabisco Barnum’s Animal Crackers. The Mondelēz International cracker brand has a new illustration on its box, showing animals in the wild, Adweek reported on August 21.

And like those free-range chickens, it was the animal activist organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that lobbied for the change, starting in 2016.

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates caging and chaining exotic animals for circus shows.,” the animal rights organization said about the new design.

“PETA is celebrating this redesign just as we’ve celebrated the closure of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and an end to the use of wild animals in many other circuses. ‘No living being exists simply to be a spectacle or to perform tricks for human entertainment, yet all circuses and traveling shows that use animals treat them as mere props, denying them everything that’s natural and important to them.”

The Modelēz brand contacted PETA after the circus closed in January 2017 to say that they agreed it was time for a new design.

“At more than 115 years old, Barnum’s Animals crackers is one of the oldest brands in our portfolio,” wrote Kimberly Fontes, a representative for Mondelēz (parent company of Nabisco) in an email to Business Insider. “Throughout our history, we have leveraged and evolved our classic design to drive awareness around key animal and environmental issues. To continue to make the brand relevant for years to come, we felt this was the right time for the next evolution in our design, now showing the animals in a natural habitat.”

 “The new box for Barnum’s Animal Crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows,” said PETA EVP Tracy Reiman in a statement. “PETA is celebrating this redesign, just as we’ve celebrated the end of Ringling Bros. circus and the introduction of animal-circus bans across the U.S.”

It’s unclear if the company worked with an agency or did the design in-house, as Fontes did not immediately respond to further requests from Adweek for comment.

Since their beginning, there have been 37 different animals included in Barnum’s Animal Crackers. As of 2012, more than 40 million packages of animal crackers were sold each year around the world.

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