For Immediate Release:
7 December 2013
A Host of Stars Express Their Outrage Over Sunder’s Plight After Watching PETA’s Investigative Video
Mumbai – Following People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s release of a shocking undercover investigative video that shows a mahout (handler) violently beating Sunder, a 14-year-old elephant at the centre of a PETA petition in the High Court of Bombay, celebrities – including Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, R Madhavan, Raveena Tandon, Arjun Rampal, Sunny Leone, Amrita Rao, Kartik Murali, Vishal Dadlani, Ayushmann Khurrana, Dino Morea, Jacqueline Fernandez, Celina Jaitly and Yaami Gautam – took to Twitter to share PETA’s video of Sunder and urge their fans to support the campaign to free him by taking part in PETA’s action alert on PETAIndia.com.
While Bachchan shared the message posted by PETA’s Sachin Bangera on his Twitter page, Dixit posted, “We should all be the champions for those without a voice who are helpless. Please help us #FreeSunder http://bit.ly/192pbHO“. Rampal, who was upset after seeing the video, tweeted, “Sunder a captive elephant was captured on camera being mercilessly beaten by his handler. (cont) http://tl.gd/n105jp“.
The video reveals a malnourished-looking Sunder, chained by two legs, writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout strikes him repeatedly with a pole. Sunder visibly recoils in fear from the weapon-wielding mahout, who continues to threaten him with violence after he has stood. He was chained and abused for six years at the Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur, and following orders from the Maharashtra Forest Department and Project Elephant, which operates under the central Ministry of Environment and Forests, to retire Sunder to a sanctuary, MLA Vinay Kore, who had given the elephant as a “gift” to the temple, sent him to be chained in an old, dark poultry shed in Warananagar instead.
PETA’s investigative video and high-resolution photographs are available from upon request.
Just last week, Kore was reported to have claimed to the media that Sunder is fine and healthy, while Vijay Shelke, Deputy Conservator of Territorial Forests – Kolhapur division, said that “every month a veterinary doctor visits the place to check the elephant” and that “we also guide the mahout and local caretakers”. These claims are in spite of the fact that Sunder’s legs show scarring from abuse, he has a low weight, and he is being forced to stand on concrete all day with no opportunity for exercise, which is essential for elephants’ health. And now new evidence – as documented in photographs and video by PETA – shows that Sunder is also beaten.
“Sunder is an elephant who has known only chains, loneliness, darkness and beatings for at least half of his life”, says Sachin Bangera, manager of media and celebrity projects for PETA. “We are grateful to Bollywood and other stars and every compassionate citizen who is working to try to get Sunder the freedom he deserves.”
Former Beatle Paul McCartney and Hollywood bombshell Pamela Anderson have previously written to authorities calling for Sunder’s release.
PETA has identified a sanctuary – where Sunder would be cared for, live without chains, be able to roam and be in the company of other elephants.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.