Actress and animal rights activist Jenna Fischer has penned an open letter to Indiana State Fair officials, urging them to put a stop to controversial elephant rides.
The Office star has teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) campaigners to condemn the fair attraction provided by bosses at Carson & Barnes Circus, insisting the elephants often perform out of fear of punishment, and they could pose a threat to young kids if they lash out in frustration.
In her letter, the Indiana native also draws attention to the harsh methods used to tame the elephants, claiming Carson & Barnes trainers still use sharp bullhooks to poke, prod and strike elephants on their skin to force them to learn circus tricks.
She writes, "I understand that at first glance, the rides might seem innocuous, but the reality is that all too often these animals are subjected to extremely abusive training - they are beaten with metal bullhooks on the most sensitive parts of their bodies and shocked with electric prods until they lose the will to fight back..."
Fischer, a mother-of-two, admits she had no idea how badly circus elephants were treated before she did her own research, and now she is hoping to open fair organisers' eyes to the horrors of the abuse and encourage them to scrap the rides before the event wraps up on 17 August (14).
She adds, "Offering elephant rides is promoting animal abuse, even if we aren't the ones swinging the bullhook or restricting the elephants' movements with chains. I, along with Peta, kindly ask that you cancel the elephant rides now and keep them out of your lineup in the future... It would make me proud to know that the state where I was born had taken a stand for animal protection."
Fischer isn't the first celebrity to take a stand against elephant cruelty - Kristen Bell, Alyssa Milano, Kesha and Joan Jett have all voiced their disdain over the continued use of bullhooks in the circus industry.