The very talented and popular British actor, Martin Clunes has been dropped as patron of the Born Free Foundation (‘Born Free’) because he rode on an elephant, in his latest travel series, in India.
Viewers can see him clamber onto an elephant during the television programme My Travels and Other Animals on ITV. Born Free confirm that his behaviour meant that he could no longer be a patron of the charity. The charity campaigns against the use (abuse?) of wild animals such as was demonstrated by Martin Clunes. It was clearly a serious error of judgement by him.
It’s a great shame because he has helped to raise £54,000 for Born Free in 2017 by offering walk-on parts in Doc Martin, the television series in which he plays the lead character.
Howard Jones, the chief executive of Born Free told the daily Mirror:
Born Free has always been opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions, including riding elephants.”Howard Jones
In the television programme he struggles to get onto the top of an elephant via the elephant’s trunk and with the aid of the elephant trainer who pushes him up in an undignified manner by putting pressure on his derriere.
Martin was concerned about his exploits but he believes that using animals for tourism was a better life than hauling heavy logs. Nonetheless he apologised and said that he did not want to hurt her. He was heavily criticised on social media. On Twitter Mr Clunes encouraged viewers to watch the programme.
I love the Born Free Foundation, it steps in whenever there’s an animal facing cruelty, abuse or unfairness of any kind.. Any animal in any place.”Martin Clunes
Tourists are discouraged from riding elephants by animal welfare groups because it cannot be done humanely.
Offspring are often separated from their mothers at a young age and many are subjected to cruel treatment making them submissive to their trainers and to prepare them for tourism work. Mr Clunes declined to comment. He is the patron of other animal charities.