Animal rights activists at Peta are urging Disney bosses to change the ending of their new version of classic elephant tale Dumbo, so the titular character escapes the circus and lives out his life at a sanctuary.
The movie studio executives are developing a live-action remake of the beloved 1941 animated film, and they've pledged not to use real animals in the movie, but Peta officials want them to go one step further - and rewrite the project's finale.
In the original Disney film, Dumbo becomes a star attraction at the circus after discovering he can use his huge ears to fly.
Peta spokesperson Moira Colley tells Wenn, "Walt Disney Pictures has already pledged that its new version of Dumbo will use advanced computer graphics, and not a suffering captive elephant, to portray its title character, and Peta, whose motto says, in part, that 'animals are not ours to use for entertainment', has another suggestion for the film - in addition to staying true to Dumbo's honest depiction of how animals suffer in the circus, why not change the ending so that Dumbo escapes to an elephant sanctuary?"
Peta boss Merrilee Burke has written to Tendo Nagenda, Disney's vice president of production, urging him to give Dumbo a "real happy ending, allowing him to escape the world of forced entertainment and finally be free".
She writes, "Dumbo gets a lot right about the way that elephants in circuses are treated. Just as in the original film, elephants in circuses are still forcibly separated from the mothers they would stay with in nature for many years or for life. They are forced to travel for days, chained in cramped conditions inside railroad boxcars, and they are beaten, shackled, and forced to perform tricks that are frightening, unnatural, and sometimes painful to them.
"These wise, sensitive animals show signs of severe stress and deprivation, such as swaying back and forth, the way that Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo do (in the film). Once in a while, they snap and go on dangerous rampages, just as is depicted in the film."
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