Sonia Sae is very passionate about her vegan beliefs, and she even keeps her pet fennec fox on a vegan diet. But it was this decision that angered many of the blogger’s followers in March 2018. In fact, her detractors later shared images that they claimed showed the animal’s alarming transformation.
Sae is a popular vlogger who lives in the city of Barcelona, Spain. She uses her eponymous YouTube channel and accompanying social media accounts to promote a vegan lifestyle, which she herself firmly believes in.
According to the Vegan Society, veganism is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” And that’s exactly how Sae says she conducts her life.
On Sae’s YouTube channel, for instance, she has uploaded videos of herself explaining what she sees as the key concepts of veganism. She has also shared tips and advice for those hoping to transition to this way of living. And for the most part, fellow vegans have seemingly welcomed her input.
However, in early 2018 an uproar sparked around Sae when people shared pictures of Jumanji, her pet fennec fox, online. The YouTuber has said she adopted the animal in 2014 after he’d been in the hands of an exotic pet breeder.
Fennec foxes, for those who don’t know, are native to Asia and North Africa. In the wild, they follow an omnivorous diet, which can include birds, rodents and insects. In March 2018, however, people claimed that Sae was unwilling to provide her fennec fox with the varied diet that he would naturally enjoy.
Faithful Foxes is a website that aims to educate potential fennec fox owners in how to care for the creatures. And according to it, the animal’s diet should “reflect their natural wild diet.” As a result, it said good food sources include “high-quality meat-rich dog food, wild canine food brands, cat food, meats, insects, meal-worms, custom dietary mixtures or any combination.”
But Sae has in fact committed to feeding her pet a vegan diet. In a May 2018 Instagram post, Sae claimed that Jumanji’s diet actually consisted of “scientifically formulated vegan pet food with all the needed amino acids for carnivores like cats approved by the [Association of American Feed Control Officials] and the government [more] than three years ago.”
Yet one person who was vocal about Sae’s perceived mistreatment of Jumanji was Alice Natanya Moore. And she took to Facebook to condemn the blogger. In a lengthy post, Moore claimed that the food that Sae was supposedly feeding the fox could not supply him with all the nutrients he required.
Moore also claimed, “Sonia has refused to listen to experts who are all appalled at her treatment of Jumanji and have contacted her regarding the health of her fennec fox. Among these are a few sanctuaries, fox rescues and exotic vet techs.”
Moore’s accusations certainly struck a chord online too, as they were eventually shared over 22,000 times. Sae also received scores of searing messages on social media, some of which accused the blogger of putting Jumanji’s life at risk with his vegan diet.
By way of proof, some pointed to a series of Sae’s posts that apparently revealed how Jumanji had experienced some health problems. These issues seemingly included weight loss, partial sight loss and loss of fur. Plus, some said the fox didn’t appear his best in the blogger’s updates.
In the end, Sae spoke out in her own defense. The vlogger claimed that the images that Moore had used to illustrate Jumanji’s poor health were actually taken in 2015. She further stated that her fox’s worrying appearance had been caused by “a skin allergy due to plant pollen.” And, the YouTuber explained, the condition was exasperated by the warmer temperatures in spring and summer.
To reassure those worried about Jumanji, Sae also claimed that the fox’s food contains “all the needed amino acids for a carnivore animal, such as taurine and lysine.” Sae added, “He is in good shape, his blood tests are fine. He’s healthy, playful and hasn’t shown any signs of malnutrition for around three years.”
In a video shared to Sae’s Facebook page in March 2018, she also took aim at the things Moore had stated as facts. For instance, Sae said the fox had still been eating meat in the pictures she’d shared showing Jumanji’s poor health. “[Moore] was trying to diss vegans, and she chose me as a target,” Sae concluded.
In Moore’s post, she had also suggested that Jumanji’s sight loss was down to a lack of taurine in his vegan diet. However, Sae claimed that the fox’s partial sight loss actually occurred following a concussion. She further claimed that he had 50 percent sight in one eye and 75 percent in the other since before he started eating a plant-based diet.
Sae then defended her choices, adding, “He gets other supplements [as well that] make his diet the most complete possible. But again, that wouldn’t fit in the story to make me look like an evil person who doesn’t check what she does and [is] just an ‘extreme vegan.’”
The YouTuber added that Jumanji’s diet is overseen by professionals. And she recommended that others seek veterinary advice when changing their pet’s food source. “Jumanji is checked by vets, and [they] know that he’s being fed a plant-based diet. We try to seek the best for him,” Sae explained.
According to the vlogger, too, people had just misunderstood her fox’s diet. “I think that the main problem here is that people think that I’m feeding him tofu or carrots, and that’s not true. He’s being fed a scientifically formulated, approved by the government, formula,” she said.
Sae then ended her video by stating that the fox’s welfare is her main priority. “I want to make clear that I would never intentionally jeopardize Jumanji’s health. If at any moment he had any health issue related to his diet, I would consider changing [it],” she confirmed.