For Immediate Release:
4 November 2015
Walking, Talking Mechanical Ellie Tells Elementary School Students Why Elephants Don’t Belong in the Circus in PETA US’ Empathy-Building Experience
Mumbai – Schoolchildren will now have the chance to learn about and get up close and personal with an ex-captive elephant, thanks to PETA US’ life-size mechanical model named Ellie, who’s voiced by Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra, the star of the smash-hit new American show Quantico. Ellie is starting a school tour that will take her all over the US, Europe and India. She’ll talk to young people about her separation from her mother as a baby, the physical punishment she endured in the circus, and, finally, her happy life at a sanctuary after her rescue.
“Elephants are truly magnificent creatures, who desperately need our help and protection. Ellie and I are teaching kids that elephants belong in the wild with their families and that they suffer greatly in captivity, in which they’re kept chained, forced to learn tricks, and deprived of all the things that make them happy, like family and freedom”, says Chopra. “I couldn’t be more proud to join PETA in bringing Ellie’s story to life for children everywhere, with the hope of instilling the idea of compassion and kindness for living creatures of all kinds.”
Elementary school students are already responding with rave reviews and questions about circus life for elephants. One student at Horace Mann Elementary in Oakland, California, asked, “Why don’t circuses just use robots instead?” And a student at Prairie Elementary in Sacramento, California, shouted, “It’s a miracle!” after watching Ellie move.
PETA India and PETA US – whose mottos read, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – have gathered extensive video and photographic evidence showing circus trainers and handlers as they jab elephants with ankushes (sharp hooked metal spears). A nine-month Animal Welfare Board of India–authorised inspection of 16 circuses by PETA India – which was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013 – found, among other cruelty, the rampant use of torture devices; animals who had died from inadequate care or who had simply “gone missing”; drunken circus staff who handled the animals; nearly constant chaining, caging and other severe confinement of elephants, dogs, cats, birds and other animals; animals who showed signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying, circling and even self-mutilation, and the use of elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had other severe eye problems.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.