Unluckiest Elephant in the World Rescued after Decades of Torture

Mohan chained in Lalganj

Twenty Hour long rescue operation mounted by Police, Forest and Wildlife SOS to rescue ‘Mohan’, a 55 year old elephant tortured for decades in illegal custody Elephant was found to be emaciated, starved and severely wounded.

Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh

In what was the longest wildlife rescue operations lasting mounted by enforcement agencies in India, an emaciated and starving elephant named ‘Mohan’ was rescued from illegal custody. The gruelling twenty hour long operation involved over fifty police officers and forest officers to ensure safety and to maintain law and order during the rescue operation.

The 55 year old male elephant ‘Mohan’ had been labelled the ‘unluckiest’ elephant in the world as several repeated attempts at rescuing him failed and legal proceedings to win his freedom were postponed and delayed repeatedly. However, years of persistence and efforts by the Forest Department with assistance from Wildlife SOS, finally saw a breakthrough and with it came justice for this unlucky elephant.

The District Court in Pratapgarh issued an order to the Police to immediately file a FIR against the people holding the elephant in illegal custody and seize the elephant within 3 days. The rescue operation lasted over 20 hours and faced stiff resistance from anti social elements in the area, intent on sabotaging the rescue attempt. The presence of a large police force helped maintain safety of the rescue team. The mahout of the elephant ‘Ghulam’ was arrested and sent to jail. The unruly mob damaged one vehicle.

DFO Mr Y P Shukla said “The elephant Mohan was transferred to custody of Forest Department in Pratapgarh where he will be provided medical care for the time being.”

Dr. Adarsh Singh, District Magistrate of Pratapgarh, said, “We complied with the directions of the court to ensure the safety of this elephant.”

Medical examination of Mohan elephant conducted by a team of three veterinarians after his rescue revealed elephant was in a truly despicable condition as a result of constant torture and abuse. The medical report dated 23 July 2016 confirms the elephant is thin and emaciated caused by severe starvation. It also mentions that wounds on his body and ears confirm beating and poking by sharp objects, as well as feet injuries that would lead to permanent joint disorders if not properly treated immediately. The elephant’s dung had a lot of round worms and indicated severe worm infestation.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “We hope that this breakthrough in attaining Mohan’s long overdue freedom sets a precedent of zero tolerance for illegal ownership of elephants and gives hope to elephants across the country that are held in illegal captivity and suffering abuse and neglect at the hands of their captors.”

Wildlife SOS India is one of the largest rescue and conservation charities in South Asia, operating 10 wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world’s largest sloth bear rescue center, the Elephant Conservation and Care Center and Elephant Rehabilitation Centre which collectively houses 22 rescued elephants. Wildlife SOS runs a tribal rehabilitation project that aims to create an alternative livelihood for poachers and other indigenous communities that once depended on wildlife for a livelihood. We also run a leopard rescue center, a wildlife hotline in New Delhi and Agra, and Forest Watch, which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit. More information about the organization can be found at http://www.wildlifesos.org.


World Youth Day 2016 – A Celebration of Laudato Si’

slajd-eko-wioska 2AIA member, Catholic Concern for Animals, is a partner organisation at World Youth Day, which is being held in Krakow, Poland from 26th – 29th July 2016 and Pope Francis himself will be there.

The event, which will be attended by CCA Chief Executive, Chris Fegan, will be a celebration of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home and many Catholic and Christian organisations will be represented there.

Follow Chris’ blog and CCA’s Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates on the event at:




Official Event Site

Follow the official site (in Polish) at:



and its Facebook page at:



The Creed of the Christian Environmentalist

encyklika-laudato-si-360There is also an official Creed of the Christian Environmentalist which is 10 suggestions for what Christians and good-willed people can do to bring about a better world, which can be found here:


Note item 8 on Animal Rights which says,

We talk about animal rights.
We think that wilful animal abuse is a sin. We support initiatives aimed at protecting animals and ensuring their welfare. Our guide is Saint Francis, who called all creatures his brothers and sisters.


Four million animals were used in British experiments in 2015 – why aren’t we using alternative methods?

Lab RabbitAIA is extremely disappointed by the unacceptably high levels of animal testing that still continues in the UK and believes that much more should be done to use alternatives  methods.  AIA’s Dr Schweitzer/Gandhi Fund invests in research into alternative methods with the Dr Hadwen Trust, to help both humans and animals.

Article by Dr Julia Baines, Science Policy Advisor to PETA UK

(First published in International Business Times 20th July 2016)

Britain is officially one of the worst offenders in Europe for scientific animal testing. According to the annual government statistics released today, cats, dogs, monkeys and other animals were used in a staggering 4.14 million experiments in 2015, a figure comparable only to France and Germany throughout the continent.

Britain is officially one of the worst offenders in Europe for scientific animal testing. According to the annual government statistics released today, cats, dogs, monkeys and other animals were used in a staggering 4.14 million experiments in 2015, a figure comparable only to France and Germany throughout the continent.

In this time of political uncertainty, however, there is a chance for positive change and innovation, limited only by our willingness and ingenuity

Currently, despite evidence that experiments on animals systematically fail to benefit humans, scientists in Britain continue to withhold food and water from animals in order to make them cooperate with experimenters; poison them with ever-increasing doses of toxic chemicals until they die; and attach bolts to their skulls so that they can be “fixed” to a chair.

Worse even than the fact that these tests are ineffective is that for decades, some doctors believe experiments on animals have actually derailed medical progress. For example, according to Steven R. Kaufman and Neal D. Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and co-chairman of the Medical Research Modernization Committee, we delayed our understanding of polio transmission, heart disease, and diabetes because we studied them in other species.

And Richard Klausner, the former head of the US National Cancer Institute, has also admitted, “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades – and it simply didn’t work in humans.”

Today, because experiments on animals are cruel, unethical, expensive, and generally inapplicable to humans, the world’s most forward-thinking scientists have moved on. Organs-on-a-chip, which mimic the structure and function of human organs, have progressed into humans-on-a-chip. A wide range of sophisticated computer models that simulate human biology and the progression of diseases have also been developed.

We can test skin irritancy and corrosion using 3-dimensional human skin cultures andproduce vaccines from human tissue cultures instead of killing rabbits and other animals.Studies show that these methods can accurately predict what happens in human beings and can replace the use of animals in exploratory research and many standard drug and chemical tests.

Seventy-nine per cent of the British public wish to see more exploration of these kinds of non-animal methods. The problem is that at the moment, the scientific community and the government lack the political will to end animal tests. It is unconscionable that of the £300 million in UK government funding for biosciences, only about 1 per cent is directed towards replacing animals in experiments.

It does, however, explain why Britain remains so woefully behind more progressive nations, such as the Netherlands, which earlier this year passed a parliamentary motion to phase out the use of non-human primates and which aims to be a world leader in animal-free research by 2025, recognising that exciting non-animal approaches are not just humane but also more reliable, more human-relevant, and often less expensive.

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, we will have to take stock of our EU-driven policies and regulations, and if we’re wise, we will seize the opportunity to become world leaders and innovators in scientific research by ending the archaic use of animals.

But if this nation continues down the same road it always has regarding animal testing, then uncoupling from EU legislation could lead to lowering animal welfare standards and permitting tests on animals that are currently deemed illegal under EU law – betraying both humans and animals.

To be on the frontier of science and ethics, innovation is our only option.



New Premium Gin to Support the Born Free Foundation

Premium GinIndian Sun to donate half of profits to international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation.

Former accountant Matt Hepplewhite has launched a new premium gin to “remind people how good gin can be”.

 Indian Sun (RRP £29.95 for 0.7cl) is a blend of juniper, coriander, fresh citrus zests, crushed almonds and proprietary herbs distilled in 200L alembic swan-neck copper pots. Tired of the mass-produced gins being churned out by industrial-sized factories, Hepplewhite commissioned world-renowned distiller John Walters to create the hand-made gin. Walters, whose T.E.A. gin was declared best gin in the world at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2015, happily accepted the challenge. 

Born Free LogoHalf of the profits from Indian Sun will be donated to the international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation, with a particular focus on elephants. Hepplewhite is a long-time supporter of Born Free’s work – in particular its campaign to establish Europe’s first elephant sanctuary.

Hepplewhite said: “The way we treat elephants is deplorable. From killing them for their tusks, to chaining them up in captivity, to forcing them to perform stunts in circuses and beating them when they can’t. I think when future generations look back at the way we treated them, they’ll be ashamed of us.”

Hepplewhite’s plan is to make Indian Sun (which is also vegan-friendly!) the “biggest gin in the world”, so that he can “give more money to Born Free than it knows what to do with.”

Elephants 6

Indian Sun can be bought at www.masterofmalt.com, and is being served in various top bars and hotels in London, including The London Gin Club, Portobello Star, The French House, The Oliver Conquest, Peg + Patriot, The Luggage Room, The Nightjar, The Whistling Shop, Merchant House and The Chesterfield Mayfair. Hepplewhite is also looking to launch Indian Sun into retailers.

Helen Usher, Senior Marketing Executive for the Born Free Foundation, added: “We are extremely excited and grateful to be chosen as the sole beneficiary of Indian Sun. It is not often that a partner would be so very generous as to donate 50% of their profits to our cause, especially one so beautifully crafted and which already has so much industry interest. We have every confidence that this gin will be a huge success. Every sale will make a huge difference to our work to protect and conserve elephants and other species worldwide.”

Elephants image by George Logan

Celebration of 30 Years of Joyce D’Silva at CIWF


This year, Joyce D’Silva is standing down from a leading role in Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), after a career spanning 30 years, first as an employee, then as its Chief Executive, and finally as its Ambassador.  On behalf of the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA), I was very pleased to attend the wonderful event held on 13th July 2016 to ‘celebrate 30 years of Joyce D’Silva’ and to look back on her amazing career with CIWF and her outstanding achievements for farm animals.  Joyce is a patron of AIA. 

The event was held at Savoy Place in London and was attended by many people who had worked with Joyce during her long and successful career.  Patron, Joanna Lumley and Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery, hosted the event, where those attending heard tributes from three guest speakers and were shown a short film of her achievements, before finally hearing from Joyce herself.  Joanna Lumley said that Joyce ‘had been a beacon’ and Philip Lymbery said that Joyce had been ‘a leader, champion and pioneer’. 

The first guest speaker was Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester, who spoke about the new Centre for Animal Welfare at the University, where there are under-graduate and post-graduate courses in animal welfare, as well as teacher training qualifications which focused on animal welfare to ensure that this was then taught to young people and, importantly, would save children from unlearning the natural compassion which they already had.  The University also included animal welfare in its policies and their catering including only animal products from higher welfare systems.  Joy said she thought the future looked bright for animals in that 70 per cent of vegetarians and vegans are under 34 and that social media was very powerful for getting animal welfare messages across.

The second speaker was Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.  He criticised the lack of compassion in the environmental movement, which saw nature as a resource to be managed for human needs only.  Martin pointed out that we are just a part of a much bigger whole and he thanked CIWF for bringing animals and compassion into the movement.  He highlighted the important role of the faiths (who own 12 per cent of the world’s farmland) in bringing compassion back into the way we treat animals and the wider environment, and stressed that they needed to get back to some of their original teachings which had been forgotten.

The final speaker was John Webster, Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol.  He described Joyce as ‘the finest advertisement for a vegan diet that I have ever met’.  Describing farmers as ‘stewards of the land’, he criticised farming subsidies for failing to reward stewardship of the environment and animal welfare, which included both farm and wild animals.  He hoped that some good would come out of the fallout from Brexit and that subsidies could be revised based on the fundamental principle of respect for all life.

Finally, Philip summed up Joyce’s outstanding career, saying that she did not just fight for freedom from suffering but that animals should get joy out of life. Joyce’s many achievements are staggering.  Compassion’s 1 million signature petition to the European Parliament helped achieve legal recognition of animals as sentient beings.  This was then incorporated into the European Treaty.  Under Joyce’s leadership, sow stalls, veal crates and barren battery cages have been banned in the EU.

What strikes me most about Joyce is her spiritual and compassionate nature.  She has championed the faith-based approach to sharing compassion towards animals and has written extensively on the subject. Luckily she is still doing work for Compassion on a consultancy basis. The Animal Interfaith Alliance is very proud to have Joyce as a patron.

AIA is Supporting The Compassion Project

The Animal Interfaith Alliance is supporting The Compassion Project, a feature length documentary film that strives to inspire and encourage those already on a religious or spiritual path, to expand their circle of compassion to embrace all life, regardless of species, and make choices in alignment with this value. 

To support The Compassion Project and for further details, please visit their website at


The Compassion Project

Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another  who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to  alleviate the suffering.


The Compassion Project is a feature length documentary film that strives to inspire and encourage those already on a religious or spiritual path, to expand their circle of compassion to embrace all life, regardless of species, and make choices in alignment with this value.

After all, compassion is a primary tenet of every major faith, but while believers are admonished to extend it lavishly and selflessly to their fellow humans, the rest of God’s creation qualifies for compassion only to a limited degree. It’s a rare congregation that hears a sermon about how the choices they make contribute to the suffering of the innocent, and how good people of almost every belief tradition inadvertently, but routinely, pay others to torture and murder the sentient beings that the most of us, whether spiritual or secular, eat and wear.

Through a series of interviews with several respected vegan authors, artists and activists from various religions and spiritual traditions, we’ll illustrate how one can make loving, compassionate choices that honor all creation, including oneself, the planet and every other earthling. We’ll also explain how a compassionate vegan lifestyle is in alignment with whatever spiritual or religious tradition one has inherited or chosen.

After the first series of interviews, we’ll edit together several short videos, each geared towards a particular spiritual path. These videos will be designed to enlighten the viewer on several surprising facts:

1. Animal agriculture and other animal use and abuse fall squarely under the rubric of “sin,” the word Pope Francis uses to describe “the way we treat animals in our society.”

2. Raising animals for food creates suffering for not only the 150 billion animals it kills each year, but also for the millions of starving people who could be fed with the grain used to fatten up beings bred for slaughter.

3. The environmental impact of animal farming at today’s level wreaks devastation on God’s creation.

4. Consuming animal products has a deleterious effect on the human body, which Christians, yogis and others see as the temple of the spirit.

5. The negative energy that derives from this wholesale violence injects into our personal and collective karma consequences ranging from ill health, to perhaps, the human-to-human violence, we see in the headlines every day.

Once the short documentaries are completed we’ll begin a second series of interviews, these with spiritual and religious leaders and lay people who are not vegan. First, they’ll be ask about their spiritual path and how it influences their lives, particularly the compassion they feel for others, including animals and the planet. Once the first half of the interview is completed, we’ll invite each person to watch the short documentary custom-created for them. Then we’ll speak with these interviewees again to see how having this new information could affect the choices they make in the future.

Each non-vegan interviewed will be given a Compassionate Living Starter Kit, which includes vegan resources, recipes and information about the cruelty of animal agriculture and its detrimental environmental impact. They’ll also be invited to take The 30-Day Compassionate Living Challenge, which entails eating a healthy vegan diet, meditating, gentle exercise and several other activities designed to awaken greater depths of love and compassion. We’ll follow up throughout the month with those who accept the challenge.