Shutterstock Bans Photos of Primates in Clothing

The world’s largest stock photo agency and its subsidiaries will no longer allow depictions of monkeys and apes in unnatural conditions.


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Photo agency Shutterstock announced this week that it will ban photos and videos of primates shown in unnatural settings across its subsidiaries, including Bigstock. The company made the decision after pressure from animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to consider the animal cruelty involved in forcing these wild animals to engage in unnatural behaviors. As part of its ban, Shutterstock will no longer allow media that depicts monkeys or wild apes wearing clothing or accessories; being shown in human environments, including studios, offices, or circuses; exhibiting trained behaviors such as dancing; and engaging in unnatural behavior with humans such as holding hands or being held. The ban includes images that are altered to appear as if the animals are engaging in any of the above activities as it normalizes the use of primates in these situations. Shutterstock joins a growing list of media companies that have taken initiative against animal cruelty, including Instagram, which introduced a new feature this month that warns users that certain hashtags (such as #slothlife) might be promoting animal exploitation.