JP Morgan axes campaign filmed with captive elephants

JP Morgan axes campaign captive elephants

US banking giant JP Morgan Chase has bowed to pressure from animal rights activists after agreeing to cease the use of captive elephants in future advertising.

The agreement was brokered by World Animal Protection in response to the employ of trained elephant performers in ‘Plan Yourself Free’ which depicted a couple in direct contact with an elephant while on a volunteer vacation.

Among the depicted activities was a scene showing the couple washing an elephant by hand, actions now viewed to be harmful and a scene showing the elephants walking in a line holding the tail of the animal in front – an unnatural position which is achieved through torturing by trainers.

World Animal Protection executive director Alesia Soltanpanah commented: “JPMorgan Chase made a responsible decision to remove these ads which sent a dangerous message that direct contact with wildlife is acceptable.

"Elephants are trained using harsh and cruel methods to perform unnatural behaviours and interact directly with people in the manner portrayed in this ad. When people see elephants used in live shows, offered for rides, used for selfie props, or washing interactions, these elephants have been cruelly abused and forced to perform these actions.”

Jeff Pilarcik, a managing director in marketing at Chase, added: “We thank World Animal Protection’s leadership for reaching out to us. While we took great care in the filming, we learned more about the other side of elephant tourism and have ended the ad campaign.”

Thus far some 220 companies including Thomas Cook and TripAdvisor have ceased the promotion and sale of elephant rides in response to welfare concerns.

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