Paul McCartney interrupts Olympics rehearsal to plead for Sunder
  • 26
  • Jul

Paul McCartney interrupts Olympics rehearsal to plead for Sunder

After hearing about the plight of a young elephant who has been beaten and is kept in chains, music and vegetarian legend Sir Paul McCartney broke from rehearsals for his performance at the London Olympics to send an urgent letter to Indian Forest Minister. He called on the minister to use his power immediately to rescue the little elephant, named Sunder.

“I have seen photographs of young Sunder, the elephant kept alone in a shed at Jyotiba Temple and put in chains with spikes”, wrote McCartney. “Years of his life have been ruined by keeping him and abusing him in this way and enough is enough. I most respectfully call on you … to get Sunder out.”

McCartney’s plea follows PETA India‘s discovery that Sunder was being abused by his handler (or mahout), who has gone on the run from police since the group became involved. Sunder has sustained a severe injury to his right eye from being jabbed in it with an ankus (a sharp, hooked metal poker-like weapon) by the boy handler. The elephant is also confined to chains with sharp spikes and is kept alone inside a dark shed, in which he cannot even take a single step in any direction. Sunder is denied all that is natural and important to him and lives in fear. There are lesions all over his body, indicating past beatings by the handler.

A scandal is growing over the way some elephants used in Indian temples to represent the Hindu god Ganesha are being housed and mistreated. Frequently controlled through beatings and prodded and gouged in sensitive areas behind their knees and ears with an ankus, they languish without veterinary care for even serious conditions, sustain leg injuries and are fed unsuitable food. Many elephants at Indian temples also show signs of severe psychological distress, such as swaying, head-bobbing or weaving – behaviour not found in healthy elephants in nature. The lack of exercise and the years spent standing in one position on hard concrete amid their own waste lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis.

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  1. avatar shay holland says:

    madness, brutal. End this abuse of our elephants!!! Good work by Mr. Mcartney!!

  2. avatar Joanne Hall says:

    Please stop, this is not good for your tourism!!!

    • avatar Josephine says:

      In Southern India last year I was struck by the difference in the appearance and attitude of the elephants I was lucky enough to see in the wild, and those poor creatures kept chained up for various purposes. Some elephants were there simply for the tourists – many of whom commented on how bad the creatures looked. Chaining up and abusing elephants is not good for tourism. Tourists are not stupid – they can see the signs of maltreatment!

  3. thank gooness someone high profile does some good work!

  4. avatar Victoria Leomant says:

    The greatness of a nation, and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals. Mahatma Gandi

  5. avatar Claudia Hartwig says:

    It`s a scandal, how Indien treats the elephants. Elephans are sensible and sentient essences, they have to live in freedom, not in captivity. Let Sunder and all others free!

  6. avatar Kirsty Hutchison says:

    Brutal and sick thugs. These animals have suffered enough.
    End Animal cruelty

  7. Why is Sir Paul NOT protesting at the use of animals IN the Olympic opening ceremony,over 63000 people have signed petitions objecting to this abuse and he is performing there!Absolutely shocked and even more disgusted,i urge anyone who is against the mistreatment of animals not to watch.

  8. avatar carmen morlotte says:


  9. avatar Brigitte Rix says:

    Well done Sir Paul! Please keep at it, so that this poor little elephant is FREE and looked after as soon as possible. Pressure is needed: Your good name and great heart will help achieve this. And please help free all the others who are ill-treated and abused. All that is necessary for EVIL to triumph, is that GOOD people do…nothing!

  10. avatar Lynn Mason says:


  11. avatar ABBY says:

    So awful, this brought tears to my eyes :'(
    What will happen next?

  12. avatar keith says:

    I’m sure Sir Paul., will get a result. You have to admire this man for his stance against animal abuse in this world.

  13. avatar Brien Comerford says:

    Paul McCartney has personified proactive compassion in action for all animals for over forty years.

  14. avatar CAROLINA RIERA says:

    q se haga justicia!!!

  15. avatar carmen says:

    we need more humanitary people like Paul to raise their voices. important people are the ones that pepole like to follow their examples.

  16. avatar j.hudson says:

    How about we start a collection to raise funds to buy this poor creature and have it set free Iam sure if the right price is offered they will sell. Iam quite happy to donate as Iam sure others will be come on PETA lets get things moving and free the poor elephant

  17. avatar j.hudson says:

    How about a petition “FREE SUNDER” ?

  18. avatar sue brydon says:

    We all need to do whatever we can to help free sunder and stop the abuse for this poor creature

  19. […] help by joining Pamela, Paul McCartney and PETA supporters from around the world in asking for Sunder’s […]

  20. avatar vicki ginoli says:

    This torment has to stop? Please allow this elephant to be set free!!


  21. avatar Barbara says:

    Elephants roam over 20 miles a day in the wild. How forsaken do they feel to be tied with chains to at least two feet and often three feet to the ground? The cruellest outcome for elephants anybody could wish for. Sacrilege!
    Why not shoot them – they would be better off that living a lie being imprisoned like this. Having to be controlled at all times is so very cruel for such a big sensitive animal. Give them the understanding they need, right now. Hideous!

  22. Please send Sunder to a good sanctuary where he can live a normal life with other elephants. I can’t understand why India is so cruel to elephants and other animals. What would Gandhi think if he were alive? Why don’t you pass laws making it illegal to own these animals. People should be punished severely for taking animals away from their habitat. Please DO SOMETHING. Why do you do nothing when you know this cruelty has been going on for years? Are you too comfortable in your own lives to spare a thought of animals suffering day after day?

  23. avatar Nanci Dagragnano says:

    How could Gandhi’s home, the beautiful India, allow this to happen? Gandhi used to speak in the name of the animals, how would he react to this?

  24. avatar Tracy Meredith says:

    How can I help. This elephant must be rescued, this evil is beyond words. Paul Mccartnet you are brilliant for helping these animals. I pray this elephant and all the other elephants kept like this will be rescued. This cannot continue.

  25. avatar toni harrison-kahn says:

    Considering the ELEPHANT is supposed to represent THE HINDU GOD GANESHA, how can the temples keep them is such despotic conditions….free Sunder and all elephants being held captive…..

  26. avatar Ben says:

    Wow. Systematic kidnap, solitary imprisonment, torture, and willful neglect. Way to go, Indian culture! We were really diggin’ who you ought to be, there for a while..

  27. avatar fiammetta says:

    thank you Paul ……. and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make !

  28. avatar Patrícia Lopes says:

    Thank you Paul! Don’t Let Sunder be Forgotten!…
    ( nor all the other Sunders… ) Thank you, thank you!

  29. avatar Diana says:

    Thank you sooooooo much Paul!! :'(

  30. avatar Christine Jenkins says:

    animals are not on this earth to be used and abused by supposedly superior human beings . shame on the people who treat these elephants in such a cruel way .it must be stoped at once . thank you paul for the love and care you have for sunder. if only there was more like you in the world that have respect and compassion for all animals .praying you will soon free sunder good luck

  31. avatar ken says:

    I read about Sunder in the PEOPLE it makes me angry to read and hear about animals being ill-treated i hope if they catch the scum dishing out this punishment gets the same treatment inflicted on him there should be a worldwide ban on cruelty to all animals including the animals that finish up in the food chain it turned my stomach when i saw how dogs are bashed on the floor and then skinned alive or the believe that the more pain inflicted the better they taste how donkeys are worked carrying bricks we suppose to be the human race but it makes you wonder why inhuman acts are allowed to happen by certain goverments who have the power to stop it just turn a blind eye these people deserve to be treated like the animals after all they are animals.

  32. avatar Anita says:

    I just cried!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. avatar Alyson Nelson says:

    Good old SIR PAUL Great to bring this to PETAS attention but HE could have paid for the elephant to be released. Words are powerful but money REALLY talks.

  34. avatar Ann Murray says:

    How is Sundar today…..following the article in the Daily Mail, 31 July, has anything been done to begin his release from such ghastly misery and cruelty?

    It is wonderful to hear of Sir Paul McCartney’s intent to free Sundar, but has anything actually been done to start the process? My plea is to the international welfare and specialist agencies to advise Sir Paul and his team, to get together and work out a plan of release, surely with all the wealth at their disposal can this not be actioned NOW ?

    Meamwhile is anyone minding Sundar and looking after his wounds?

  35. […] a rigorous three-month campaign, which saw A-list celebrities, including Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson, join tens of thousands of people in calling for the release of an elephant […]

  36. avatar Angela Marya Leonini says:

    Paul, ajude os animais que estão sendo maltratados, assassinados. Eles tem alma e sentimentos como nós. Fico muito deprimida e magoada com esses desumanos que maltratam e fazem coisas banais com eles. Te agradeço por fazer parte dos protetores. BJOSSS

  37. avatar Brenda says:

    It would take a person who has had their head in the sand, not to see the torture this poor animal goes thru each and everyday. Are they so uncaring. Do they not want to see it. Or do they just want to torture it. Ifplease someone go there to work and just take this poor baby for a walk and never go back. Just someone quickly do something before it dies.

  38. […] the 21-month-long campaign by PETA’s international affiliates to free Sunder – supported by Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, many well-known Bollywood stars and more than 17,000 PETA UK supporters who wrote […]

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