The Seekers singer Judith Durham has taken aim at a leading Australian tax consultancy for using a performing elephant in a Tv advertisement.
The Georgy Girl hitmaker 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 of the beasts used for filming are ill-treated.
In the note, sent via People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), the Australian 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.
"Since the commercial was filmed in Bangkok, you may be shocked to learn that Thailand is the world's largest promoter of elephant camps in which the barbaric Phaajaan ritual is used to break baby elephants' spirits... In these facilities, still-nursing baby elephants are dragged from their mothers, bound with ropes and steel cables and immobilised in wooden cages. They are beaten mercilessly for days while deprived of food, water and sleep...
"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."