Moved by a photograph showing an Indian elephant and her baby desperately trying to outrun flaming projectiles being thrown at them by a mob, Academy Award winning actress Anjelica Huston has urged India’s tourism ministry to ban elephant rides.
Huston has sent a letter to the tourism ministry on behalf of animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The actress starred in the 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited, which was mostly shot in Rajasthan, where elephant rides are popular, especially around Amer Fort.
“As much as I was enchanted by India when we filmed ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ there, I am haunted now by the image of a mother elephant and her calf – fleeing, screaming, from a mob hurling fiery tar balls at them in West Bengal,” Huston wrote in the letter.
The Hollywood actress, who has also featured in movies like The Addams Family, The Witches and The Royal Tenenbaums, appealed on behalf of caring citizens around the world to “ban the use of elephants for rides, move rescued elephants to sanctuaries, and empower those in the hideous elephant-abuse business to take up more upstanding professions”.
Huston was PETA US’ Person of the Year in 2012. She had also supported legislation to phase out New York’s archaic horse-drawn carriage industry and had sent a letter to the Irish government, urging the country to honour its commitment to banning fur farms.