Paul McCartney speaks up for animal rights
by Liane Abbey
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .

It was only two years ago when Paul McCartney made headlines for taking initiative to defend an animal rights case which seemed to have a happy ending.

When former Beatles member, Sir Paul McCartney, went to India in 2012 he encountered Sunder; a 14-year old performance elephant. Sunder showed definite signs of abuse including physical ailments such as, facial injuries of the ear and eyes, and scars covering it’s massive body. In addition to lacerations, this helpless being was shackled up at a shed at the Jyotiba Temple and had limited movement.

Driven by his passion for animal rights, McCartney wrote a letter to the Indian Forest Minister urging him to free the animal.

This lead to viral online petitioning for Sunder’s freedom, which encouraged a supposed release of the elephant from shed to wildlife refuge.

However, in a recent investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)it was learned that Sunder was not only kept in chains once more, but was confined to a smaller shack where the elephant was unable to lie down. In a video taken by members of PETA, Sunder was being beaten by handlers and looked ill.

According to an interview, PETA director of veterinary affairs, Dr. Manilal Valliyate said Sunder had been seen “writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout (handler) strikes him repeatedly. Sunder visibly recoils in fear from the weapon-wielding mahout, who continues to threaten him with violence after he has stood.”

I urge all those reading to contact the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests and speak on behalf of Sunder. His contact info is below:

Kumar Sanjeev, Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, at

About Liane Abbey

Liane is a Journalism student at Niagara College, living in Niagara Falls. She has lived a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle for nine years. Passionate about animal, human, environmental, and indigenous peoples rights, Liane participates in activism daily. She plans on traveling to Costa Rica and Kenya in the near future. In her spare time, (when she is not watching Star Trek) Liane enjoys cooking, yoga, reading and laughing. More written work and photography by Liane can be found at her personal blog.

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  • Margarita Eremeyev

    The email given at the end of this article is not right. Email can’t be delivered to it.

  • Fabi perales

    Elephants should not live in captivity. SUNDER should now be living free in a sanctuary. Free Sunder now.

  • Animalib ForAllanimals

    Thank you for report on Sunders horrifically sad story, he needs all the support he can get.

  • kess

    Thank you for covering Sunder’s story! Please update as new information becomes available. Sunder must be sent to a sanctuary. #FreeSunderNow

  • AB

    Thank you for covering Sunder’s story. Will look forward to updates on his freedom.

  • dhk12300

    Amazing no one seems to be able to help this poor elephant from massive abuse and starvation. Both are evident from pics showing head and eye trauma, scars all over this young elephants body, and malnutrition. Film documentation from last month shows the crying animal beaten to his knees in pain unable to stand up. SICK. Animal abuse is illegal in India. Why aren’t his abuser’s in jail ? Instead of playing games in court ? The High Court ordered Sunder
    to be released 2 years ago and his release was paid for. Instead he is chained in a dark dank chicken coop and severely abused. Is this village so corrupt that they can blow off the law and a animal can be beaten to death ?

  • Joan

    Thank you for your report on Sunder the tortured elephant. Hopefully all of the uproar will result in his timely transfer to a sanctuary.

  • lilly ekberg

    please someone let thisl little elephant be free from this horrible treatment this is absolutely not right.