Judith Durham has taken aim at a leading tax consultancy for using a performing elephant in a TV advertisement.
The Seekers singer was horrified to discover bosses of H&R Block had commissioned a commercial featuring a Thai elephant specially painted to blend in with a background wall.
Durham has now written to the company’s managing director Brodie Dixon urging him to pull the ad, insisting many animals used for filming are ill-treated.
In the note, sent via the animal rights advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the star writes: “I am dismayed to learn from my friends at PETA Australia that a new H&R Block commercial includes a scene with an elephant.”
“I feel certain that it was a lack of understanding that led to this ill-conceived decision and I hope that after learning more about how elephants suffer when used as non-consenting “actors”, you’ll pull the ad without delay… Whatever reassurances you may have been given, no reputable sanctuary would hire out elephants as trained performers.
She said that Thailand was the world’s largest promoter of elephant camps in which baby elephants are broken in in brutal circumstances.
“I hope you are as appalled by this information as we all should be and act upon it by immediately pulling H&R Block’s new advertisement,” she said.
A spokesman for H&R Block referred AAP to a previous statement from the managing director and said the company would not be commenting further.
In the statement in July, H&R block said the elephant’s welfare was at the forefront of production processes.
The location for the commercial shoot had to be approved by a regulatory body and non-toxic paint was used, it said.
“The elephant showed no signs of distress or discomfort at any point during the rehearsal or filming process,” the company stated.