Animal rights campaigners are urging Tim Burton to change the ending of Dumbo in his live action remake of the Disney classic.
Peta has written an open letter to the Big Eyes director suggesting that “the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary.”
In the 1941 animation, the ending sees Jumbo the flying elephant reunited with his mother and given his own luxury cabin on the circus train.
Peta’s senior vice president Lisa Lange says the film shows the young elephant “continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry”.
She writes: “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.”
It is unclear whether Burton, whose team announced the project earlier this week, is planning on using real elephants or CGI or both in the production.
The movie does not yet have a release date but is expected to be a mixture of special effects and live actors in the style of Disney’s other recent live-action films.
It will be the latest re-working of its classic animation, following Cinderella, Maleficent (adapted from Sleeping Beauty) and Alice in Wonderland.
Several other films are in development, including a modernised take on The Jungle Book due for release next year, Beauty and the Beast, expected in 2017, and Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.