Animals roaming wild and free across an African grassland before they’re eaten by a six-year-old at recess.
Image: AP

Circuses are so last century, and animal cracker brand Barnum’s Animals has finally taken notice.

The Associated Press reports that mounting pressure from PETA has led Mondelez International—parent company of Nabisco—to completely redesign the packaging of Barnum’s Animals crackers.

PETA called for a redesign in a 2016 letter to Mondelez: “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.”

Mondelez agreed—perhaps out of a care for animals, but more likely out of a desire to make sure the 116-year-old animal cracker brand remains relevant.

The old packaging for Barnum’s Animals crackers, depicting caged animals in a boxcar circus. We’ve evolved, folks.
Image: AP

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“When PETA reached out about Barnum’s, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary,” said Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, in a statement.

The writing was on the wall. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey—the circus empire that was founded in 1871—went defunct in 2017 due to dwindling ticket sales; operating costs were high, animal rights groups were unrelenting, and people’s tastes have changed. Maybe we’d rather marathon Planet Earth on Netflix instead of watching a lion jump through a ring of flames.

Instead of being cooped up in the box cars of an antiquated traveling circus, the new design depicts a the animals—a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe, and gorilla—roaming an African grassland side by side, in “fuck circuses” solidarity, perhaps. You can even spot acacia trees in the distance, in case you needed confirmation that they’re in Africa and not some parking lot in New Jersey, waiting to go under the big tent.

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PETA is pleased. Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said, “The new box for Barnum’s Animals crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows.” Cool. I’m sure they’re eager to get back to the comparing-marginalized-groups-to-animals beat!

And now, your toddler can feel better about stuffing their face with the crunchy playground snack. Everybody wins.