Paul McCartney interrupts Olympics rehearsal to plead for Sunder

Posted by 4 years ago | Permalink | Comments (39)

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.


  • shay holland commented on July 26, 2012 at 11:18 am

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

  • Joanne Hall commented on July 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

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

    • Josephine commented on August 4, 2012 at 7:46 am

      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!

  • planet bow wow commented on July 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    thank gooness someone high profile does some good work!

  • Victoria Leomant commented on July 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

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

  • Claudia Hartwig commented on July 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    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!

  • Kirsty Hutchison commented on July 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm

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

  • Kerry Madgett commented on July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    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.

  • carmen morlotte commented on July 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm


  • Brigitte Rix commented on July 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    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!

  • Lynn Mason commented on July 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm


  • ABBY commented on July 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

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

  • keith commented on July 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm

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

  • Brien Comerford commented on July 27, 2012 at 12:18 am

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

  • CAROLINA RIERA commented on July 27, 2012 at 1:14 am

    q se haga justicia!!!

  • carmen commented on July 28, 2012 at 8:49 am

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

  • j.hudson commented on July 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    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

  • j.hudson commented on July 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    How about a petition “FREE SUNDER” ?

  • sue brydon commented on July 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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

  • vicki ginoli commented on August 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

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


  • Barbara commented on August 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    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!

  • SUE GRIFFITHS commented on August 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

    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?

  • Nanci Dagragnano commented on August 4, 2012 at 3:08 am

    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?

  • Tracy Meredith commented on August 4, 2012 at 8:43 am

    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.

  • toni harrison-kahn commented on August 4, 2012 at 11:48 am

    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…..

  • Ben commented on August 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    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..

  • fiammetta commented on August 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

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

  • Patrícia Lopes commented on August 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

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

  • Diana commented on August 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Thank you sooooooo much Paul!! :'(

  • Christine Jenkins commented on August 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    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

  • ken commented on August 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    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.

  • Anita commented on August 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

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

  • Alyson Nelson commented on August 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    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.

  • Ann Murray commented on August 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    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?

  • Angela Marya Leonini commented on December 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    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

  • Brenda commented on March 10, 2014 at 3:53 am

    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.

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