GUEST COMMENTARY - On Nov. 2, In Defense of Animals and Los Angeles Alliance for Animals delivered a letter signed by nearly 12,000 signatories to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks urging a non-animal model in place of the disgraced pony rides and petting zoo at Griffith Park and requesting a meeting to discuss the matter.
In December 2022, In Defense of Animals and Los Angeles Alliance for Animals claimed a decisive victory for animals when Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo was forced to stop operating in the park by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The department announced its decision not to renew the contract for 2023 on Dec. 3. As of Dec. 22, the business was closed to the public, marking the end of 74 years of animal suffering.
“Ending the pony ride and petting zoo contract was a major step towards ending the exploitation of animals in the city of Los Angeles,” said Brittany Michelson, Campaign Specialist for Captive Animals at In Defense of Animals. “Now we ask the Department of Recreation and Parks to implement a non-animal model in its place instead of bringing back animal entertainment, which would only perpetuate animal suffering. Los Angeles is a leader in ethical and progressive policies, and this is a perfect opportunity to choose the compassionate and progressive route.”
Nearly 12,000 people signed In Defense of Animals’ alert urging the department to consider a non-animal model instead of bringing animal entertainment back onto the premises.
“We are urging Recreation and Parks and the Los Angeles City Council to implement a non-animal model for the safety of our community, including every child who visits Griffith Park,” said Zohra Fahim, President of Los Angeles Alliance for Animals.
In Defense of Animals partnered with the Los Angeles Alliance for Animals to expose footage showing how senior ponies were overworked without rest, did not receive water for long periods, and were denied protection against hot temperatures. Workers prodded ponies for several hours to provide rides to children when they refused to move any further. Other animals were documented suffering, including a sheep in distress and rabbits sitting in the hot sun with no shade or water in the petting zoo over the summer.
(In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin County, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as its hands-on rescue facilities in California, India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org)
(Los Angeles Alliance for Animals is one of the only equine protection groups in Los Angeles dedicated to eliminating horse and pony abuse. Our groundbreaking work has brought exposure to the unjust and unfair treatment of the geriatric ponies at Griffith Park and Pony Ride and Petting Zoo, and we are committed to getting justice for the victims ongoing suffering they endure and ensuring other animals are never again abused in the City of Los Angeles at the hands of the City of Los Angeles. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076422702309)