This Snack-Time Favorite Has A New Look And It’s Getting Praise From Animal Rights Activists

The small change sends a big message.

When you think about a box of animal crackers, you probably think about that classic box of Barnum's Animal Crackers featuring lions, elephants, zebras, and more. But for 116 years, those animals have appeared on the box in cages — until now.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reached out to Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, in regards to the design packaging of Barnum's Animal Crackers, explaining that its packaging promotes a harmful industry and mistreatment of animals. 

"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 to Mondelez International, CBS News reports

The original animal cracker box points to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which shut down in 2017. Ringling had been "phasing out elephants as a result of shifting public tastes and criticism from animal rights groups over the well-being of the animals," NPR reported prior to its final closing. 


PETA has also given reasons why people should not promote or attend circuses: the animals suffer, they are bred in captivity and remain there their entire lives, they are harmed as a form of training, they are forced to live in poor conditions, and they are "denied everything that gives their lives meaning, such as the opportunity to run, play, or socialize," among other reasons. 

So Mondelez International agreed with PETA that it was time to change the design of its boxes. "When PETA reached out about Barnum's, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary," Jason Levine, Mondelez's chief marketing officer for North America, said in a statement, according to CBS News. 

The resulting box features a zebra, an elephant, a lion, a giraffe, and a gorilla, all in a line, walking freely against a landscape image of trees and grassland. 

"Big victories can come in small packages!" PETA tweeted, thanking Nabisco and featuring an image of the box. 

"After working with PETA, their new box for Barnum's Animal Crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of animals for the circus," the tweet concludes. 

Bob Killian, a branding expert, tells USA Today, "They can't lose too much of the look and feel ... What took them so long? There's nobody's who pro-cage, so I don't see what they have to lose."

It's exciting to see the new imagery on the Barnum's Animal Cracker box and, hopefully, it helps raise awareness for animals and their safety, too. 


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