Actress Richa Moorjani, well known for her portrayal of Kamala in the series I have neverjoined In defense of animals urging the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to eliminate pony ride concession contracts in the city. The continued mistreatment at Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo prompted the Los Angeles star to call on city leaders to send all animals to a sanctuary and replace the park with a non-animal model.

In defense of animals has joined the Los Angeles Animal Alliance, an animal welfare organization that has documented footage of elderly ponies on the tourniquet not receiving water for long periods at a time, elderly ponies being overworked without protection from high temperatures or rest periods, and elderly ponies being pushed around for several hours to provide rides for children when they refuse to go any further. The organization has also documented other suffering animals, including a distressed sheep and rabbits sitting in the scorching sun with no shade or water in the petting zoo during the summer.

Due to public pressure, the City of Los Angeles commissioned a third-party equine veterinarian to report on the welfare of ponies and horses at Griffith Park Pony Rides earlier this year. The reported veterinarian ponies with saddle sores, hoof problems, lameness and dental issues. Based on dental exams, the vet found that many of the ponies were between 20 and 30 years old.

Despite more 1,000 emails from supporters of In Defense of Animals, the concession contract was renewed and the animals are still forced to work there despite the difficulties linked to advanced age and health problems. There are unlimited options for educational models to replace this concession, allowing all animals at Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo to opt out of this business.

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“Aged ponies and horses are abused and neglected for entertainment, right in the heart of Los Angeles, it’s beyond disheartening,” said Moorjani. “Horses are highly intelligent, emotional and sensitive beings who deserve to live and roam freely, not to be exploited for profit in the name of ‘pleasure’. The conditions under which these animals are forced to work are disturbing and unacceptable, and it is heartbreaking to see their suffering so evident. I urge you to join me in supporting In Defense of Animals – demand that the pony rides and petting zoo at Griffith Park be replaced with ” non-animal entertainment” and send all animals to a sanctuary where they can have a chance to live happily without suffering.

“Los Angeles has become home to many effective animal protection measures that often serve as models for laws and regulations elsewhere in the country and around the world. City Council has the opportunity to join more than 1,000 supporters of In Defense of Animals, actress Richa Moorjani and the Los Angeles Animal Alliance for once again setting a positive precedent by eliminating pony ride contracts in the city and sending animals to Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo to Sanctuary, allowing these gentle, sensitive beings to live out their golden years in peace and comfort,” said Lisa Levinson, Director of Campaigns at In defense of animals.

“We are extremely grateful to actress Richa Moorjani for calling on the Los Angeles City Council to remove all animals from Griffith Park and Pony Ride and Petting Zoo to a sanctuary. Angelenos would agree that this is a step in the right direction,” said Zohra Fahim, Founder and President of Los Angeles Animal Alliance.

During the past year, In defense of animals encouraged fans to contact the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commissioners, City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to take action on these issues at Griffith Park Pony Rides and Petting Zoo and eliminate pony ride concession contracts in the city so that this kind of neglect cannot happen elsewhere.