PETA Calls On Angels To Retire Long Standing Rally Monkey Tradition
MLB: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels
May 26, 2009; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels fans wave rally monkeys during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium. The White Sox defeated the Angels 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Since the turn of the century, the Los Angeles Angels have had one World Series championship to hang their hats on, and during their miracle run in 2002, the Rally Monkey took the baseball world by storm.

First introduced in the 2000 regular season, the Rally Monkey became a viral phenomenon during the World Series. Sparking numerous momentum-swinging runs, becoming a fan favorite at the ballpark and through merchandise sales, the monkey has stood as the unofficial mascot of the Angels.

But in the latest move from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), they’ve called up the Angels to end the use of the beloved Rally Monkey instead of “forcing live capuchin monkeys to participate in photo ops and public appearances.”

The animal rights activist group is the most prominent voice for animals around the globe and they believe the use of such footage is exploitative and could be shifted toward a more animal-friendly avenue.

Prior to this, PETA reached out to Major League Baseball with a desire to change the term ‘bullpen’ to ‘arm barn’ with the stance that the term mocks the terrible conditions animals endure and is devaluing for the players.

Current Angels utilityman Brandon Drury explained that many of his most fond baseball memories while growing up as a fan of the team included the Rally Monkey.

His memories are shared with many who love the team and would be off-put if the franchise were to abide by the request.

PETA’s letter to Angels owner Arte Moreno

Dear Mr. Moreno:

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA and its millions of members and supporters globally—including more than 182,000 in Los Angeles County—to urge you to end the Angels’ tired “Rally Monkey” tradition, which consists of airing exploitative footage of a monkey named Katie at games and occasionally forcing live capuchin monkeys to participate in photo ops and public appearances.

Any live appearances with a monkey can cause these sensitive animals severe distress—as well as pose a danger to the public—and using even archival footage of the animals dressed in human clothes perpetuates a misunderstanding about them and leads spectators to believe that these scenes are cute or funny. Monkeys—including Katie—are still being exploited in Hollywood, and it’s standard practice to use violence and psychological domination to force them to perform.

Airing this type of content on your jumbotron could increase the public’s desire to own these animals as “pets,” which would fuel unscrupulous dealers who mass-breed primates and sell them with no consideration for their welfare—or for the law, since private possession of monkeys is illegal in California. In fact, PETA sounded the alarm over singer Chris Brown’s illegal possession of a monkey in the state, which led to the termination of the license of one of the country’s most notorious primate breeders after he pleaded guilty to trafficking primates.

Monkeys are intelligent, highly social animals with complex needs. When used for entertainment or kept as “pets,” they’re torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, which can cause lifelong trauma. And because monkeys can and will bite humans—either due to stress or simply because it’s the nature of these wild animals to do so—many of them are dumped at shady roadside zoos, where they’re denied proper exercise, healthy diets, and adequate veterinary care.

Since the tradition of exploiting monkeys is nothing to cheer about, we urge you to retire the “Rally Monkey” and instead rely on cruelty-free options such as a human in a monkey costume or a monkey puppet with an animal rights message. Or forgo the monkey theme altogether and consider creating a costumed Angelfish mascot who would teach children about these fascinating animals.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Debbie Metzler, M.S.
Director of Captive Animal Welfare

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