T-Mobile Austria ditches trained elephant ad after charity protest

T-Mobile Austria has ditched an ad featuring a trained elephant in favour of a 3D animated one after the suffering of wild animals in entertainment was brought to light by a charity.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) claim to have brought the issue to light, and the telecoms company has vowed not to use performing wild animals again.

"T-Mobile Austria is committed to being a sustainable enterprise in all regards,” said Helmut Spudich, head of corporate communications and responsibility at the business.

“While we have followed all legal regulations and had a veterinary on location all the time for filming a TV commercial with a trained elephant, we learned that using trained wild animals was not in accordance with our sustainability commitment. Therefore we decided to refrain from using the original video material and completely redid the commercial with 3D animation. We also confirm our commitment not to use trained wild animals in any future productions.”

The ad in question, featured Naira, a 44-year-old wild-caught Asian elephant from the Czech circus Národní Cirkus originál Berouse. ADI and Czech group Svoboda zvířa reached out to T-Mobile Austria to urge T-Mobile Austria not to broadcast the advert.

“ADI applauds T-Mobile Austria for their responsible reaction to our concerns,” said Jan Creamer, president of ADI. “Replacing Naira with an animated elephant ensures no animals are harmed during production. We urge other companies to follow their lead and not use wild animals in advertising.”

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