With Tim Burton set to direct the live-action remake of Disney's Dumbo, PETA sent a letter to the director this morning calling on him to give the film a new ending-one in which Dumbo escapes the confinement and abuse of the entertainment industry and lives out his life in a sanctuary. The letter comes just days after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it would be removing all elephant acts from its shows by 2018 as a result of increasing public concern about the animals.
"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," writes PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.
In its letter, PETA-whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment"-also thanks Burton for using computer-generated imagery, not live elephants, to portray Dumbo's animal characters.
PETA's letter to Tim Burton follows.
To: Tim Burton
From: Lisa Lange, PETA
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
For more information, please visit PETA.org. I can be reached at 518-466-6815 or MoiraC@peta.org if you have any questions.