A New Ending for Tim Burton’s Live-Action ‘Dumbo’?

After Ringling Pledges to End Elephant Acts, PETA Calls On Director of New Dumbo Film to Make Sure CGI-Created Title Character Finds His Freedom

For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2015

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

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.

For more information, please visit PETA.org. I can be reached at 518-466-6815 or [email protected] if you have any questions.

PETA’s letter to Tim Burton follows.

March 11, 2015

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.

Kind regards,

Lisa Lange
Senior Vice President
PETA

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind