Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist boxer M C Mary Kom has lent her support to the cause of animal welfare, calling for an end to circuses where elephants are kept chained in a new ad shot for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
'Magnificent Mary', as she has been dubbed by the International Boxing Association, has shot for this ad ahead of the release of a biographical film on her, starring Priyanka Chopra.
The ad's caption reads, "Elephants Belong in the Wild, Not in Chains. Ban Animal Circuses."
The ad was shot by leading photographer Gaurav Sawn, and Kom's hair styling and make-up were done by Rohini Foregard, PETA said in a statement.
"Circuses are cruel places for animals where they are beaten and tortured. As a mother, I can imagine what animals go through when their children are taken away from them to forcefully perform in circuses. It's sad," said Mary.
"We, humans, choose to perform but animals are given no choice."
Elephants and other animals in circuses are subjected to chronic confinement, physical abuse and psychological torment. Whips and other weapons -- including ankuses, which are heavy, sharp steel-tipped rods -- are often used to inflict pain on elephants and beat them into submission, PETA stated.
Following a nine-month investigation of circuses by a team that included representatives from PETA and its sister organisation Animal Rahat, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, decided to stop the registration of elephants used to perform in circuses.