Stock photography website Shutterstock has banned images showing monkeys and apes in unnatural situations following a complaint made by PETA. The complaint is made on the behalf of primates that may be exploited in order to produce the images, which may also show these animals in a state of distress even if they're not perceived in that way.

An unnatural image, in this case, is one presenting an ape or monkey is an environment where it wouldn't ordinarily be found, in costume or otherwise dressed up, demonstrating unnatural behaviors like dancing, interacting with humans in a way that isn't natural for the animal, and similar scenarios.

In a post dated December 19th, PETA said, "Images of these animals in unnatural settings can harm conservation efforts and may increase the demand for these wild animals as 'pets.'" After discussing these potential issues with Shutterstock, PETA says the company decided to ban the aforementioned content, also applying the ban to its Bigstock subsidiary.

The stock photo company's ban is similarly applied to images that have been digitally altered to show the above situations. Other images featuring monkeys and apes are still allowed, however, including ones featuring zoos and natural habitats, as well as in cities where they're naturally found.

Shutterstock confirmed the content ban to DPReview yesterday evening, with Shutterstock's VP of Content Operations Paul Brennan saying:

In line with advertising industry changes regarding the use of great apes and monkeys in stock images and clips, Shutterstock no longer accepts commercial photographs or video clips of great apes and monkeys in unnatural situations.