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Petition says Yoplait cups can kill animals, urges General Mills to change them

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There's a renewed effort to get General Mills to change its Yoplait yogurt cups that one group says takes animals' lives.

More than 100,000 people have signed a Care 2 petition asking Golden Valley-based General Mills CEO Ken Powell to redesign the cups so animals can't get their head stuck in them.

Some of the company's yogurt cups – including the original and light varieties – are narrower at the top and have a ridge inside. (The other varieties of yogurt have different shaped cups, Yoplait's website shows.)

So when an animal sticks its head inside the container to get a taste of the leftover yogurt, it gets stuck, the petition says.

This is especially problematic for skunks, which don't have paws designed for grasping and pulling the cup off their wedge-shaped head, the Huffington Post says. Squirrels are also victims of this, but not as frequently, the publication notes.

As a result, they can wander into traffic and be hit by a vehicle, suffocate, or die from dehydration after days of not being able to drink water, reports note.

That's unless someone comes along and rescues the animal – a scene that has played out in dozens of viral videos, ABC Action News says.

Including the one below, where a Rochester, Michigan, police officer rescued a baby skunk from a Yoplait container, he confirmed to the Huffington Post.

A police officer never knows what the day will bring. Officer Taylor was called to the 400 block of W. Third St. this morning for a baby skunk with its head stuck in an empty yogurt container. Luckily baby skunks can't spray like adults! Well done Officer Taylor!

Posted by Rochester Police on Sunday, August 2, 2015

The petition claims General Mills, which owns Yoplait, has known the containers have been killing and injuring animals since 1998, but has done little to remedy the situation.

Jen Johnson, the author of the petition, says the company initially responded by printing text at the bottom of the container that reads: "Protect wildlife, crush before disposal".

But she says that clearly hasn't worked, so they're seeking a new solution.

"It doesn't make sense for Yoplait to pass the responsibility for making these cups less deadly to its customers,” Johnson said in an email news release. “Yoplait needs to make a cup that doesn't kill wildlife in the first place, like its competitors do."

A Change.org petition created a few years ago also requested Yoplait change its container, writing General Mills spokesperson said the company didn't want to do so because the "design is a key lure for customers, and changing it could harm sales."

The group also has a Facebook page addressing the issue.

In a statement to BringMeTheNews, General Mills said:

"Because wildlife will try to eat from containers of all shapes and sizes, we do urge consumers to crush containers before disposal. We also encourage consumers to dispose of all containers properly. We print the message 'protect wildlife crush before disposal' on our cup for that reason."

Yogurt containers aren't the only thing animals can get their heads caught in. Last year, a Wisconsin lumberjack rescued a bear who got its head stuck in a milk jug. And in 2013, a Hermantown woman used a pole to free a doe with its head stuck in a jar.

The Humane Society has tips on how to protect wildlife.

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