Court Rules That Sunder WILL Be Free!
We have some excellent news today that is bound to bring a smile to the face of anyone who has heard the story of Sunder, a young Indian elephant who has spent the last six years chained up in a temple, miserable and alone, and endured beatings and abuse.
Today, in a landmark judgment, the Honourable Bombay High Court ruled in favour of PETA India by upholding the implementation of the Joint Secretary (Forests), Government of Maharashtra’s order of August 2012 to release Sunder to a sanctuary. This is the result we’ve all been hoping for, and it’s a major victory in the 21-month-long campaigns by PETA and our 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 to Indian officials calling for Sunder’s release.
Sunder’s shocking beatings have been caught on videotape, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined him found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down. The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then whisked away at the behest of the Member of Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained chained. In December 2013, PETA India obtained new video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him.
Now, at long last, it looks like Sunder’s suffering could be over. The next step will be to transfer Sunder to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore. PETA India is calling on officials to implement the court’s order quickly, before he can be harmed again.
Thank you to everyone who spoke out for Sunder. Now, all compassionate people can look forward to seeing him finally receive the care and respect that he deserves.