International music legend Sir Paul McCartney, who was part of the globally renowned band The Beatles, has sent an urgent letter to Union Cabinet Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, requesting that he take immediate action to send abused elephant Jeymalyatha (also known as Joymala) to a suitable rescue centre. The letter stands in support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s plea and comes after two separate videos of the elephant screaming in pain while being beaten ruthlessly by different mahouts went viral.
In the letter, Paul McCartney, a vegetarian, wrote, “I have considered India a spiritual place ever since I travelled there in the 1960s. I was impressed by India’s cultural love for animals. I know India reveres elephants, its national heritage animal; but cruelty to animals happens everywhere, even in India. What reflects on a country’s values is how that cruelty is addressed. That’s why I am confident that action will be taken to send sorely abused elephant Jeymalyatha (Joymala) to a suitable rescue centre where she can receive the specialized care she needs for her psychological wounds, and can live unchained and in the company of others of her kind … I trust you agree that Jeymalyatha has suffered more than enough and that she deserves to spend the rest of her time on this Earth away from her abusive trainers, rehabilitating, and with others of her kind.” He added that while the videos of her beatings are heartbreaking, “equally heartbreaking is that this social, intelligent animal is still being forced to live in solitary confinement”. In nature, female elephants live in a family herd.
PETA India recently submitted a veterinary inspection report on Jeymalyatha’s condition conducted on 27 July to forest department officials in Tamil Nadu and Assam. The report points out that Jeymalyatha’s current mahout used pliers on her skin, even in front of inspectors. The mahout forbade the inspectors from taking photographs and video footage, but they still managed to document her condition. The inspection was conducted after two separate viral videos emerged, one in June 2022 and the other in February 2021, of Jeymalyatha being beaten so badly by different mahouts that she can be heard screaming. The beatings shockingly occurred in the holiest of places – the sanctum sanctorum of the Krishnan Kovil temple near Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil – and ironically at a rejuvenation camp.
On Sunday, a bevy of stars from films, music, sports and fashion, including Madhuri Dixit, Raveena Tandon and Arjun Rampal took to social media to join PETA India’s call to the Tamil Nadu and Assam governments to send Jeymalyatha to a rescue centre for immediate specialised care, where she can begin to recover from the psychological trauma of sustained abuse. Recently, celebrities like Genelia Deshmukh, Sunny Leone, Papon, Kunal Kapur, Pooja Bhatt, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia, Atul Kasbekar, Adah Sharma, and Kavita Kaushik had also supported the #FreeElephantJeymalyatha campaign on Twitter.