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In Defense of Animals and Los Angeles Alliance for Animals has successfully shut down the Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo. The zoo is operated in the park by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Source: In Defense of Animals/YouTube

The department announced its decision not to renew the contract for 2023, and the business will finally be closed to the public after 74 years of needless animal suffering.

“We’re thrilled that the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has addressed concerns raised by over 1,000 In Defense of Animals supporters, actress Richa Moorjani, and the Los Angeles Alliance for Animals,” said Lisa Levinson, Los Angeles County resident, and Campaigns Director at In Defense of Animals.

“Ending this pony ride and petting zoo contract sets a positive precedent and ends a bygone era of treating animals as commodities without considering their emotional and physical wellbeing. Now is the perfect time to switch all city parks to non-animal entertainment models. Many options are available, including environmental education, where families can learn how to respect and care for native plants and animals within the park. We urge the Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo to send its previously working animals to a sanctuary.”

Actress Richa Moorjani, known for her portrayal of Kamala in the Netflix comedy-drama series Never Have I Ever, joined forces with IDA to shut down the pony ride once and for all.

“Elderly ponies and horses are being abused and neglected for entertainment right in the heart of Los Angeles, it is beyond disheartening,” Moorjani said. “Horses are highly intelligent, emotional, and sensitive beings that deserve to live and roam freely, not exploited for profit in the name of ‘fun.’ The conditions these animals are forced to work in are disturbing and unacceptable, and it is heartbreaking to see their very evident suffering.”

The two organizations teamed up to expose footage that showed how senior ponies were being overworked without rest. They did not receive water for long periods and were denied protection against hot temperatures, IDA reported. Other animals were also documented suffering, including sheep and rabbits sitting in the hot sun with no shade or water in the petting zoo over summer.

Thanks to pressure from animal lovers all over, the City of Los Angeles assigned a third-party equine veterinarian to report on the wellbeing of the animals at the Griffith Park Pony Rides. The veterinarian reported that they had untreated saddle sores, hoof issues, lameness, and dental problems. The vet also found that many of the ponies were in their senior years and should not have been forced to do this anymore.

“We are grateful that the city has taken the appropriate steps to close down Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo. Animal abuse and cruelty don’t align with the values of Angelenos,” Fahim stated to In Defense of Animals.

Ponies are not meant to handle such a heavy workload, and spending excessive time in the summer heat can be deadly. Our failure to recognize and appreciate animals as intelligent beings capable of pain and suffering is what allows exploitation to continue, and it won’t stop until we take action. We can help these animals by not supporting the businesses that exploit them. Refrain from buying tickets to circuses, zoos, or movies that use wild animals. This will leave these companies with less financial Support to keep their cruel practices going.

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