ITV’s Beecham House drama is slammed by animal rights groups for using captive elephants during filming that have been ‘subjected to cruelty and exploitation’
- Show, dubbed ‘Delhi Downton’, is set in 18th century, decades before British Raj
- Born Free Foundation said scenes encourage tourists to ride elephants in India
- Save the Asian Elephants also criticised the show as elephants are ‘tortured’
ITV’s new period drama Beecham House has been slammed by animal rights campaigners for using captive elephants.
The show, dubbed ‘Delhi Downton’, is set in India in the late 18th century, decades before the British Raj.
Scenes from Sunday night’s episode feature men riding the noble creatures, reports the Mirror.
Dominic Dyer from the Born Free Foundation blasted the show for encouraging tourists to seek out similar experiences on their travels by broadcasting the scenes.
He told the Mirror: ‘We can be certain the elephants used in the drama have been subject to tethering with chains, beating and other cruel training methods.
ITV’s new period drama Beecham House (pictured) has been slammed by animal rights campaigners for using captive elephants
Pictured: John Beecham (played by Tom Bateman) in the show stood next to an elephant
‘The riding scenes help encourage tourists who visit India to seek out the experience, despite the cruelty and exploitation involved.’
Beecham House follows former East India Company officer John Beecham (Tom Bateman) as he begins a new life with his family after buying a mansion in Delhi.
Although the exact details of the plot are not known, it is thought it will address the complex motivations of those involved with the East India Company, whose activities remain controversial.
Save the Asian Elephants’ Duncan McNair also criticised the show, saying elephants are subject to ‘ruthless beatings’ and ‘torture’.
He added: ‘Whilst Beecham House is set in a bygone era, we condemn the riding of elephants.’
An ITV spokesman said: ‘Elephants feature in Beecham House as they were an important part of life in India in 1795.
Dominic Dyer from the Born Free Foundation blasted the show for encouraging tourists to seek out similar experiences on their travels by broadcasting the scenes
‘The production team adhered to a stringent animal welfare protocol. Vet reports were sought in advance, with on-going vet and monitoring of the animals throughout the shoot.’
It comes just months after Martin Clunes was axed as a patron for Born Free after he climbed onto an elephant by its ears in order to ride it for his TV show.
The Doc Martin star, 57, climbed on the animal’s back as part of the ITV show Martin Clunes: My Travels and Other Animals.
The charity campaign to keep animals in the wild where they belong and directly opposes elephant rides.
The chief of the charity, Howard Jones said: ‘We can confirm that, with much regret, Martin Clunes is no longer a patron.
‘Born Free has always been opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions, including riding elephants.
‘Martin was a generous and loyal Patron for many years, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for wild animals in need. We thank him for his support and dedication.’