(ANIMAL WELFARE) Singer Paul McCartney has joined an international battle to save a baby elephant that’s being kept chained and alone in a shed in India. The Beatles icon is very concerned about Sunder, the elephant, because the baby has no medical treatment and is suffering from a bad eye injury sustained from his handler’s abuse. Sunder is another casualty of a bizarre religious trend where elephants are showcased in front of temples to represent a Hindu god. Unfortunately all the elephant is representing now is animal cruelty. Read on to see how Paul McCartney is helping baby Sunder. — Global Animal
Chris Greenwood, Daily Mail
Routinely beaten and kept so tightly manacled with medieval spiked chains, Sunder the baby elephant cannot take a single step in any direction.
He is in desperate need of treatment for a serious eye injury after being cruelly jabbed with a metal poker by his boy handler.
These are the heartbreaking pictures that have captured the young animal’s horrific ordeal and have moved Sir Paul McCartney to join an international battle to free Sunder.
The former Beatle wants the Indian Government to intervene in the elephant’s plight and has warned ministers in a letter: ‘The world is watching.’
The young animal is confined to a tiny and dark shed at a temple after being dragged from a forest in the South-West of the country.
Sir Paul asked officials to step in and save the elephant after seeing the distressing images of his many injuries.
In a letter to an Indian Government Minister written during rehearsals for the Olympic opening ceremony, the musical legend said the ‘world is watching’.
He said: ‘I have seen photographs of young Sunder, the elephant kept alone in a shed at Jyotiba Temple and put in chains with spikes.
‘I appeal to you to do what is right here and get Sunder post-haste to rehabilitation in the Forest.
‘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 use your authority to get Sunder out, placed in your protective custody and eventually integrated into a herd in the forest.’
The elephant’s plight was discovered by supporters of campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
He is held in Kerala where wild young elephants are often captured and brought to temples to represent the Hindu god Ganesha.
Most do not receive any medical care and are fed unsuitable food, leaving them malnourished and distressed.
A spokesman for Peta said Sunder’s handler has gone on the run since his mistreatment was discovered and publicised.
He said: ‘Many elephants 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.’
Sir Paul has been a vocal animal rights campaigner, supporting a ban on the trade in dog and cat fur and posing for photos with baby seals to oppose their slaughter.
Her former keepers, circus owners Moira and Bobby Roberts, are expected to go on trial accused of animal cruelty later this year.