4541981630.8dd5717.2e62dd00829447ac917ee8e106185738
Sonia Sae and Jumanji the fennec fox

Sonia Sae and Jumanji the fennec fox

The internet loves nothing more than a good old fashioned witch hunt and as of recent weeks, a subject of their hatred has been vegan activist, Sonia Sae and her fennec fox, Jumanji. Whilst it is easy to formulate quick conclusions about wild animals being domesticated and to have concerns regarding the feeding of a vegan diet, it is important not to jump on the hate campaign bandwagon without researching for yourself first, or at least questioning the validity of the sources.

Where did it all start?

It appears the concern surrounding Jumanji’s well being stemmed from a Facebook post that subsequently went viral, with over 28,000 shares. The original post makes numerous claims about his health, after stating foxes are not omnivores and are incapable of  digesting synthetic taurine. She implies Jumanji’s partial blindness and skin condition is, “no doubt due to taurine deficiency,” as well as claiming he appears “underweight” and “lethargic”. The poster also claimed his nose was sore due to insufficient digging areas in his home, leading to him trying to dig in undesirable areas such as bed sheets or hard flooring. According to the accuser, Sonia has ignored several attempts from professionals urging her to change the fox’s diet, including animal sanctuaries and exotic animal veterinary technicians.

Let the witch hunt begin…

Despite the claims not being presented with any evidence and being purely the opinions of someone who has not only never met Jumanji but also seems to have no advanced knowledge of fennec foxes, a media frenzy ensued. Outlets all over the world began donning extreme headlines, accusing Sonia of killing her fox and depicting the “deterioration” of Jumanji using Instagram images from Sonia’s page, conveniently with the dates cropped out, giving a completely inaccurate time line of his life with Activist Sonia Sae and vegan fennec fox, JumanjiSonia. Screenshots of her openly speaking of his partial blindness and convulsions have been used as “proof” his diet is harmful, despite there being no actual proof of this being the case and no records provided to show these ailments were non existent when he first came into Sonia’s care.

Since going viral, Sonia has been hit from all angles with thousands of comments and messages bombarding her various social media pages. Many of the comments are not appropriate to repeat here but vary from “animal abuser” and “you’ll always be hated, you will always be treated like trash”, to death threats and very explicit personal attacks. Sonia has since made her Instagram account private, in an attempt to stop the abusive comments rolling in, although they are still coming on her Facebook activism page. Numerous posts, videos and petitions have been circulated about her and of course, as mentioned, even mainstream media outlets are relentlessly fueling this fire.

This isn’t the first time the media has gotten carried away with false accusations against vegans. Just weeks ago, farm intern Alison Waugh hit mainstream headlines with claims of death threats from vegans but later retracted her statement but by that time, the damage was done and the tarnishing of vegans had already had the desired impact on the public. The Express even went as far as to don the headline “Vegan activists want children hurt” which, of course, is preposterous but it goes to show, people will write anything for views, regardless of whether there’s any evidence to back up those accusations.

What’s the truth?

There are many discrepancies when it comes to the accusations against Sonia and until these accusations are proven or disproven, the decent thing to do is not to launch such an aggressive hate campaign. Reading through comments and articles regarding Sonia, it becomes glaringly obvious the majority of pitchfork dwellers do not have anJumanji the vegan fennec foxy knowledge or information on the matter, other than someone else telling them it is so. Unfortunately, we live in a time where many take what they read on the internet at face value; don’t do any further research for themselves, and the concept of innocent until proven guilty goes straight out the window. The blatant lack of evidence and somewhat inaccurate claims about behavioural traits of fennec foxes will go unnoticed by some, as will the deliberately cropped out dates on images and incorrect information regarding his living conditions. Many commenters appear more concerned with being a part of the public stoning, rather than legitimately caring about Jumanji. It is truly shocking how one person’s Facebook status has ignited such an awful display of harassment and bullying, without there being any research into the situation or evidence showing the claims were true. As this all seems to have originated from that one Facebook post, we will lay out the initial concerns surrounding Jumanji and delve a little further into them.

“If you feed a fennec fox an omnivore diet they will get sick”

Fennec foxes are in fact omnivores, despite the post claiming they are not. In the wild, they are opportunistic eaters and typically forage for plants, as well as eating rodents, eggs, reptiles, and insects, should the opportunity arise. She also stated foxes cannot digest synthetic taurine but provided no factual evidence for this being the case. In fact, chemically produced synthetic taurine is the same, structurally, as naturally occurring taurine. Without details of exactly what is being fed to Jumanji, it is impossible to pass judgment on whether or not his food intake is insufficient. The only information given is the brand name of cat food, AmiCat, but there is no other information on whether his diet is supplemented with other foods or ingredients and no information on exactly how much cat food Jumanji is receiving, so it cannot definitively be said that Jumanji is not receiving an adequate diet. Synthetic taurine is present in many meat-based cat foods and so it’s digestibility is not necessarily a cause for concern.

“Jumanji is partially blind already, no doubt due to taurine deficiency”

The main issue here is, presenting an opinion as fact. Until a written report from a vet, who has examined Jumanji and taken into account all other variables, specifically states his blindness is without a doubt due to his diet, there is doubt and this needs to be acknowledged. Regardless of how controversial it can be to feed certain companion animals a plant based diet, it is not a given that every ailment they may suffer is therefore due to their diet and without evidence, frivolous claims such as this hold no weight. Blindness can indeed be an effect of taurine deficiency, this is not being disputed and the concern is not invalid, however, without proof of this being the case with Jumanji, it would be fair to await further evidence before jumping to conclusions. It is not known how long Jumanji has had issues with his eyesight; for all the public knows, it could have been from birth.

“He is experiencing hair loss (which she claims is an allergy), appears underweight, and from the videos provided on her instagram last week, he is also lethargic for a fennec”

Again, without evidence of these claims being accurate or related to his diet in any way, they are purely speculative. Sonia has always been upfront regarding Jumanji’s health issues, explaining years before the accusations started that his hair loss is down to a pollen allergy. The allergy became apparent prior to the feeding of a plant based diet and as ofJumanji the domesticated vegan fennec fox yet, there is no veterinary evidence to the contrary. It is also important to acknowledge the claim from the accuser, fennec foxes “do not have seasonal coats that they shed”, which in all fairness, can be said of wild fennec foxes but it is not unheard of for fennecs in captivity, especially in countries with varying temperatures, to shed their coats. Accusations against his being underweight could also be attributed to his varying fur densities making him appear that way. To someone who does not know much about fennec foxes, he probably does look thin because they are naturally very tiny. Sonia has claimed Jumanji is well within the average weight range of a fennec fox at 3.3lbs, with the average being is 1.5–3.5lbs. As for lethargy, it’s worth considering that fennec foxes are naturally nocturnal animals, so it is common for them to spend many of the daylight hours resting and sleeping. A video taken in the daytime is not necessarily an accurate example of how he behaves during his more active hours. It’s also important to bear in mind that one or two videos of Jumanji do not showcase his life on a daily basis, so it’s unreasonable to assume he is always lethargic, based on insufficient, small snippets of his life.

“He also lacks a digging area so his nose is rubbed red”

Jumanji does in fact have a digging area in his home, in the form of a play pen filled with sand. One of the images shared did show him to have a sore looking nose but with no further information available on when the photo was taken or what may have caused it, as well as it only being apparent in one photograph, there is nothing to suggest an ongoing problem. This is an empty claim attempting to further vilify Sonia, without having any factual information.

“She PURCHASED him from a breeder! He was NOT a rescue”

Jumanji has been under Sonia’s care for four years, after an exotic animal breeder could no longer keep him. Despite being willing to adopt him, Sonia has been very outspoken about not supporting the exotic animal trade stating, “only if you adopt him! Don’t buy them” when asked for advice on getting a fox as a pet. So whilst from a first glance, it may seem hypocritical to have a fennec fox as a companion animal, being born in captivity and suffering health issues from the offset rendered Jumanji unable to be released into the wild.

Are the claims not true at all?

Until there are veterinary records or irrefutable evidence that Jumanji the domesticated fennec fox is suffering due to his vegan diet, the jury will remain out. Inconsistencies, convenient cropping of images, misinformation and lack of evidence should all be considered before blindly siding with the accuser and if, like she says, the police are investigating, they will get to the bottom of it. Having seen videos posted over the last few days by Sonia herself, of Jumanji playing gleefully with a full body of hair, we shall remain supportive of Sonia and not get caught up in the mob mentality. As much as we are obviously hoping we are never proven wrong, should any solid evidence be provided to show Jumanji is suffering in any way, due to how Sonia is looking after him, we would of course be devastated. Until that happens though, we have seen nothing substantial to suggest the mistreatment of Jumanji and will not be buying in to the hate campaign against Sonia and would urge others to stop harassing her.

Have Sonia and her accuser responded to the media attention?

Since the war was waged, Sonia has spoken up a few times on Facebook but understandably, is staying away from social media for the most part. She has on two separate occasions said the following,

“Thank you for being concerned about his health on this subject. He is in good shape, his blood tests are fine, he’s healthy, playful and hasn’t shown any signs of malnutrition for around 3 years”

“Thank to all the people who have messaged me asking politely concerned about Jumanji’s health without harassing me or threatening to kill me”

Animal rights activist Sonia SaeSonia also posted two videos showing him running around and playing in his sand box however, this still didn’t please some critics who went as far as claiming Sonia had purchased a new fox or was passing off someone else’s video as her own.

Meanwhile, the female who began the controversy has made light of the situation, changing her profile to read, “come for the fox drama, stay for the memes.”

The irony behind it

Whilst there are some vegans out there who are opposed to Sonia’s keeping of an otherwise wild animal and her choice of diet for him, the majority of those voicing their concern for Jumanji, both with genuine words and offensive ones, are not vegan. It shows how society is living with a constant state of cognitive dissonance, by aiming their rage at who they believe to be an “animal abuser” whilst having no qualms being complicit in the systematic torture and killing of trillions of animals every year. One can hope a positive outcome of this dramatic witch hunt will be those who found themselves concerned with the well being of this one fox will open their eyes to the plight of the animals they have chosen to ignore up until this point and choose to no longer fund the animal cruelty, commonly accepted in the food industry, animal testing industry, fashion industry and entertainment industries such as zoos or marine parks.

* * * *

For the most recent video uploaded by Sonia, click here.

For the Vegan News segment on the subject, click here.

To oppose the wrongful information presented in the BBC article, you can sign the petition here.

 

 

Disclaimer: The cover image is not Jumanji as no images of the correct dimensions were available

Comments (28):

    • jenny

      March 14, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Whilst we appreciate there are allegations that she did not rescue Jumanji, we like to see proof, further than a Facebook status, before doubting Sonia’s side of the story. But thank you for sharing the link, we shall be ongoing in our research of this case.

      Reply
      • Keith

        March 14, 2018 at 9:23 pm

        The link shows pictures of when he was a healthy baby and she was a kid when she got him in 2014, I do not see a way of uploading that evidence here.

        Reply
          • Keith

            March 15, 2018 at 11:03 pm

            Yeah, I saw that. Lies Lies and more Lies. Before she claimed she “rescued” him from a breeder, now she claims she adopted him. She forgets that those animals are worth a lot of money and no one was going to just “give him” to her. She finally admits he was not blind or having seizures since birth (her previous lies) but rather an “accident” and a “coma” while in her care caused the blindness and seizures. He was healthy when she got him, and obviously, he was sold ESPECIALLY when 2014 was the LAST year it was legal to buy and sell them in Spain since in 2015 it became illegal (coincidence? LOLZ). I see you are not doing any research on this matter though. Are you aware that Animal Justice in Spain already filed a complaint and they already have a rescue center ready to accept the animal? Is this just a BS article put out by the Sonia Sae team, like all the fake Sonia Sae Facebook groups? Sure looks like it!

          • jenny

            March 16, 2018 at 3:15 pm

            You can believe she’s a liar, nothing I say would change your mind on that and at the moment, it can’t be proven either way. The point of this article was to encourage people to research for themselves or listen to the accused explain their side of the story before barraging a girl with abuse and death threats, like many people have done; you can say I’ve done no research but over the last few days, I am sure I have done considerably more than the thousands of people messaging her with these threats and insults. Yes, I am aware of the complaint and we’ll see where they take it from here. I have no affiliation with Sonia, I’ve never even spoken to her, hence I am not being so quick to demonize her without knowing the full story

  1. Cynthia

    March 14, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Sonia’s animal has been proven to be healthy. Just because BBC people are ignorant about petfood nutrition, doesn’t mean Sonia deserved to be bullied. The one who started the bullying: Alice Natanya Moore is a vile, sick (and ironically animal abusing) psycho with an anti-vegan agenda and should be sued for libel and slander. She’s a no-life keyboard warrior.

    Reply
    • Matt

      June 10, 2018 at 6:14 am

      Says the chick doing the exact same thing… hypocrite

      Reply
  2. Alan van epps

    March 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you Sonja. I myself have a really great track record on my 15 year old vegan dog. We walk 1000 miles a year. Vet sed he looks 2 years old. Again, thanks

    Reply
    • Riaan de Winnaar

      March 14, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Veganism is a human lifestyle goal, no other animal can be vegan. What is happening here is that you are imposing your ethics on another animal by not feeding it a species appropriate diet. That’s abuse.

      If you are unwilling or unable to feed an animal a biologically appropriate you should not keep it as a pet.

      Reply
  3. Alison

    March 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you. It’s a relief to read something balanced at last. I hope that Sonia sues the young woman (Alice?) if she can. It’s been horrendous reading all the bullying posts, and I can’t imagine how Sonia is feeling.

    Reply
    • Jenn

      March 15, 2018 at 11:41 pm

      I can’t imagine how Alice is feeling after reading your comment. Sucks that she just cares about animals, huh?

      Reply
  4. Riaan de Winnaar

    March 14, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Why did vegans jump in? Because irrationally siding with a vegan guilty of animal abuse purely because she is vegan is hypocritical. Veganism is not about vegans, its about animals.

    Regardless of the animals health, the abuse is feeding him a species inappropriate diet. That is the bottom line and this is what happens when you impose your ethical perspective on another animal. The logic dictates that if you are either unwilling or unable to feed an animal a diet as close to possible to its naturally preference you should not keep the animal as a pet. A acting omnivorous human feeding a bunny a meat based diet is abuse and so is a vegan feeding a fox a plant based diet.

    This is what happens when people think they can change millions of years of evolution in their back yard. Let it be a lesson to all of us, things like these are a discredit to everything veganism stands for.

    As for the article, it unfortunately only further speculation and there is also no evidence provided. The opinion of the writer.

    Reply
    • jenny

      March 14, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you for your comment, you definitely make some valid points worthy of consideration. As for the article being opinion, we don’t deny that. The purpose of the piece was not to provide evidence either way but rather, to encourage people to do their own research and educate themselves further, should they see something written online that angers them to the point they begin harassing someone. There are a lot of false accusations being thrown around and it is important to address them. The focus seems to have been on expressing hatred towards Sonia, not the health and well being of Jumanji and we don’t feel this is ok, regardless of personal opinions.

      Reply
      • Jenn

        March 15, 2018 at 11:45 pm

        so you fought an opinion based on fact of healthy animals, with photographic images as proof, with your opinion of slandering a young woman because you think that this fennec fox is healthy. Even though fennecfoxes.net says “Your Fennec should be eating several dozen mealworms, crickets, silkworms or other insects a day, along with eggs, as they rob nests in the wild. Any type of bug or insect is great. You can also feed mice or pinky mice. Others choose to feed raw meat. If you choose to go with a commercial food, please make sure that it is one high in taurine and meat products.”

        Reply
        • jenny

          March 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

          I haven’t “fought” anything, just want to encourage others to look deeper into accusations such as these before sending threatening and insulting messages.

          Reply
    • Keith

      March 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you Riaan de Winnaar! Vegan here! I do NOT support this abuse, which is actually worse since it’s coming from a “vegan”.

      Reply
  5. Martin D

    March 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for writing such a clear and coherent article regarding this whole debacle. I’m sure the truth will be clear soon and the haters can crawl buck under their rocks.

    Reply
  6. Elena

    March 16, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Lmao… What a bunch of misinformation you’re pedaling…This has nothing to do with a single nutrient like taurine… This has to do with the fact that a fennec fox’s intestines are literally not able to properly digest or process that much plant matter or properly absorb nutrients… Like cats and all carnivorous animals, their intestinal tracts are much shorter so food stays in there for a lesser time unlike herbivorous animals whose intestines are 20 times the length of the body and therefore are equipped to process plant matter…

    Reply
    • jenny

      March 16, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Maybe I should have clarified more clearly but this article is addressing the particular viral post regarding Sonia and Jumanji, and the harassment that followed. In said post, she spoke of taurine and so it was taurine that was addressed in this piece, as well as her other specific claims. I don’t feel the article claimed to be giving biological reasons for or against the way in which Jumanji is being fed but rather, encouraging others not to take a Facebook post at face value and start sending someone death threats.

      Reply
  7. Wiki

    April 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( https://www.instagram.com/tayo_home/ ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.

    Regards
    Wiki

    Reply
  8. Robert Hudson

    May 26, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    What an ignorant post. First of all Fennec foxes are illegal as pets in most states. It is an imported wild animal and is bred by exotic animal breeders that has a long history of animal abuse. Most get surrendered eventually. It is not a dog or a cat. And everything you quote from the article and call a witch hunt is scientific FACT. Talk to any veteranarian or scientist. Just your ignorant statement alone stating any animal can live on a vegan diet shows how little you really care for animals and how finatic you are. AND I AM VEGAN. stupid stupid people. The vegan movement does not need this nonesense.

    Reply
    • jenny

      June 7, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your comment. This article was never actually intended to be an article for or against Jumanji’s diet. I will openly admit I know very little about fennec foxes and this is exactly why I was reluctant to immediately pass judgement and why I encouraged people throughout this piece to take a step back from the harassment when they have no further knowledge of the situation. The “article” I have quoted was not from an article at all, let alone a scientific one, but rather one particular Facebook post by a breeder, who also knows very little about fennec foxes.
      I believe this is very much a witch hunt and highly unacceptable; The original post was very misleading and one sided. I explained in detail the importance of doing research into a matter and you’ll notice I acknowledged the concerns on multiple occasions but it all comes down to providing proof, which the initial post did not.
      After reading numerous posts and articles based on speculation, I felt Sonia deserved to be represented from a more impartial view, hence this article. I haven’t said whether or not I believe Jumanji should be fed a vegan diet, I only gave a different point of view, touching upon inconsistencies and purely circumstantial evidence presented as fact. Doesn’t anyone who is accused of something have the right to voice their side before being inundated with hate?
      I agree this is a matter to be left to veterinarians, not random members of the public and that is why I am saddened by the reaction of the public and the media. Whether a person believes Sonia to be wrong for what she feeds Jumanji will never justify the treatment she has received and I am hoping you would agree with me on that.
      At no point have I stated any animal can live on a vegan diet, so I’ll ignore your false claim & misguided comments on that. Sonia also does not live in the states so the legality in the US is irrelevant in this case.
      Thanks again.

      Reply
  9. Tora

    June 13, 2018 at 9:01 am

    I actually contacted my local vet along with my former roommate who is now a veterinary technician, and showed photos and blogs featuring this fox, and they BOTH said Jumanji was malnourished. They are OMNIVORES. They eat plants AND meat, not one or the other. They need both. And hair loss is NOT an allergic reaction for mammals, but it IS a reaction to malnourishment. Just ask anyone who was malnourished as a child or adult. My mother still hasn’t recovered all her hair from being malnourished and going into a coma AT AGE 6 MORE THAN 60 YEARS AGO.

    Animal abuse is ABSOLUTELY something to get angry about, because it’s beyond sickening to anyone who actually cares about animals, and I pray they take Jumanji away from Sonia, because she should NOT own any animal beyond a bird or ACTUAL HERBAVORE.

    Reply
  10. Michiel

    July 27, 2018 at 2:48 am

    So how much did Sonia pay you? Because you offered no contradictory facts at all, there is no debate here. This is a simple plug in defense of Sonia without, shockingly, and real info on fennec foxes either. So until you can provide proof, let’s not make crass defenses, shall we?

    Reply
    • Michiel

      July 27, 2018 at 2:48 am

      any*

      Reply
    • jenny

      August 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Like we’ve explained to previous commenters saying similar to you, we didn’t claim to be offering facts regarding whether Jumanji should be fed a vegan diet or not. We’re not trying to debate here, just encourage others not to jump on the band wagon of hatred against Sonia without knowing anything about the situation. There are 2 sides to every story & that is what we have tried to show here when going through the claims against Sonia. It is very sad that calling for an end to death threats towards a person would be accused of being paid to do so. We agree that without proof we shouldn’t be making any crass statements which is what this entire article was all about.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *