From product recalls to continued shortages, CVS has seen its fair share of empty shelves over the last year. In July, the pharmacy chain pulled two different sun-care items from its stores after a report came out claiming that the products contained a chemical that could cause cancer. Then in August, the retailer had to place a purchasing limit on at-home COVID tests due to high demand and short supply. Now, CVS has just banned one product from being sold at any of its stores following complaints. Read on to find out what the pharmacy chain is pulling from shelves.
CVS has banned the sale of greeting cards featuring unnatural images of great apes.
CVS is pulling a number of cards from its greeting card aisle. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the pharmacy chain banned cards featuring great apes wearing costumes, displayed in studios, or interacting with humans following protests from the organization. CVS has banned the cards from its nearly 10,000 stores, and PETA says that most cards have already been removed.
Best Life has reached out to CVS to confirm that these cards have been pulled from shelves and banned, but has not yet heard back.
PETA says these kind of greeting cards hurt conservation efforts.
According to PETA, unnatural images of great apes, like chimpanzees, "mislead consumers" into believing that the species is doing well. But all chimpanzees have been classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2015. And the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has warned that all Great Ape species are at very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, possibly within our lifetime.
PETA also notes that portrayals of chimpanzees in these greeting cards could increase the demand for buying endangered great apes as "pets" on the black market, which is a major force leading them toward extinction. "Chimpanzees aren't models or props, and photos of them wearing Santa hats or sitting at the holiday table put these endangered animals at risk," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
CVS is not the first retailer to make this change.
While CVS is the most recent retailer to pull these greeting cards from its shelves, it's not the first. Rite Aid removed all great ape greeting cards from its stores earlier this year. In March, the pharmacy chain pulled cards that included images of chimpanzees, orangutans, and other great apes in what PETA referred to as "demeaning, clownish images" after protests from the animal rights organization, Penn Live reported.
"In regards to your request to remove any greeting cards featuring great apes, please know we are removing any such cards from our inventory as quickly as possible," Andre Persaud, executive vice president of retail at Rite Aid, said in a statement to PETA at the time. "We have contacted our supplier American Greetings, and they will be removing all cards featuring great apes from our stores during their next service call."
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But PETA is still urging more companies to stop selling these cards.
At the moment, there are still plenty of these greeting cards being sold. PETA is urging American Greetings to stop manufacturing and selling cards with unnatural great ape images, and Walgreens has asked Hallmark to stop selling such cards in its U.S. stores. Julia Gallucci, a primatologist with PETA, told Penn Live that the organization is only against media portraying these animals as being cute and cuddly or being held, as opposed to sitting in their wild habitat.
"We have no problem with greeting cards that feature natural depictions of great apes," Gallucci said. "That's very, very different from a chimpanzee drinking a beer, wearing a birthday hat, or wearing sunglasses. It can celebrate them for what they really are, which is this very interesting, magnificent, socially complex, emotionally complex species. They're our closest living relative and worthy of respect, rather than just being sort of a caricature of a human."