Motivated by a viral photograph showing a mother Indian elephant and her baby desperately trying to outrun flaming projectiles being thrown at them by a mob, Academy Award winner and star of The Darjeeling Limited Anjelica Huston sent a letter on behalf of PETA calling on the Indian Ministry of Tourism to ban cruel elephant rides. The Darjeeling Limited was shot mostly in Rajasthan – a state where numerous elephants, such as those around Amer Fort, are used for rides.
PETA notes that elephants used for rides are typically beaten into submission; denied adequate food, water, and veterinary care; and made to stand on hard concrete surfaces, leading to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis. Unsurprisingly, captive Indian elephants, who are often kept chained when not being used, exhibit signs of severe psychological distress, such as swaying, head-bobbing, and weaving, and have been known to lash out in frustration, injuring and even killing nearby humans.
Huston was PETA US’ Person of the Year in 2012. Her past work in behalf of animals includes supporting legislation to phase out New York’s archaic horse-drawn carriage industry and sending a letter to the Irish government urging the country to honour its commitment to banning fur farms.