If you celebrated the end of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2017, then you’ll probably be thrilled with this news as well. The Barnum’s Animals Crackers boxes have changed, letting the iconic animals out of their animal crackers cages.
The boxes, which were developed in 1902, showed animals in cages on a boxcar train. The design was meant to represent the once popular traveling circus, but especially with the end of those circuses, the design has become outdated and more than a little problematic. So animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) suggested a change to the makers of the animal crackers.
The result is a new box design showing the animals—a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe, and gorilla—roaming free. The design change isn’t that radical. It’s still the same red box, only now the animals are walking side-by-side in the wild instead of cooped up in circus boxcar cages.
Nabisco’s parent company Mondelēz International told CNN, “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.”
Putting an end to the practice of keeping animals caged for the entertainment of humans has long been a PETA goal.
In an article on their website, PETA said, “The new box for Barnum’s Animals perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates caging and chaining exotic animals for circus shows. 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.”
Whether or not you normally agree with PETA, there’s no reason that animal crackers (which, even as an adult, are still one of the best snacks around) shouldn’t get a new look. It’s kind of nice to see the animals in their natural habitat and at the end of the day, let’s all remember that it’s just a box of cookies.