Shortly after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced the end of its elephant acts, PETA released an open letter to director Tim Burton to ask that he change the the ending of Disney’s “Dumbo” for his planned live-action remake.
The animal-rights organization suggests that Dumbo should escape the entertainment industry altogether, and find a happy ending at a sanctuary. PETA also thanked the filmmaker for using CGI instead of real elephants.
“We’re hopeful that in your adaptation of ‘Dumbo,’ the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary instead of continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry,” wrote PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.
Burton, who was announced as the film’s director this week, also worked Disney’s successful live action adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.”
You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Dear Mr. Burton,
Greetings from PETA’s Animals in Film and Television Division. We understand that you’ll be directing “Dumbo” and if “Alice in Wonderland,” “Frankenweenie,” and “Corpse Bride” are any indication, the artistry of the computer-generated imagery in this remake is in good hands.
The reaction to last week’s announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will retire the elephants used in its shows makes it clear that there is a better understanding of and respect for these sensitive, intelligent, and complex animals. We love the original “Dumbo” because it tells the story of the heartbreaking abuse that elephants in circuses endure, and we hope you will keep this storyline in the new film. A bullhook is a sharp metal weapon used in circuses to control elephants—and it’s the same tool used by elephant trainers in film and television. And just like in the circus, elephants used in film and television don’t perform because they want to. They perform because they’re afraid that they’ll be beaten if they don’t.
We’re hopeful that in your adaptation of “Dumbo,” the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary instead of continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue further. I look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best of luck with the film.
Senior Vice President
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