SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Pony rides for children at a weekly Santa Monica Farmers’ Market may soon be coming to an end.

A proposed measure on the Santa Monica City Council agenda Tuesday night would eliminate all “animal activities” – including Tawni’s Ponies & Petting Farm – at the open-air market held Sundays on Main Street.

Under the proposal, the ponies would be replaced with a “non-animal activity” such as painting or cooking after the current contract expires on June 30, 2015.

Activist Marcy Winograd, whose online petition to shut down the rides has gained about 1,380 signatures, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO she wants the city to reconsider its current contract.

“All this measure does is open up a bidding process to non-animal vendors with preference given to the local arts community to apply to be at the entrance of the market, which has long been dominated by tethered and trapped animals,” Winograd said.

She added that while she has reminded animal vendors that they’re free to offer trail rides at one of the city’s parks, “there hasn’t been any interest in that.”

But Tawni Angel, owner of Tawni’s Ponies & Petting Farm, said that alternative simply isn’t practical.

“For me to hand-walk ponies through the trails or even the parks, I am risking dogs running up on us, balloons flying at us, kids running up underneath the ponies that could get stepped on, balls flying at us that are in the park playing,” said Angel.

The income from the rides goes toward paying for hay, pellets, vet bills, hoof trimmings and housing for the more than 100 animals supported by Tawni’s Ponies & Petting Farm, according to Angel, who has an online petition as well.

“My ponies are brought to Santa Monica one day a week for three hours,” she said. “It’s the only job those six ponies do.”

For Winograd, however, part of the problem is that visitors to the farmers’ market must pass by the ponies at the entrance of the market – an issue that she says has caused others to voice their opposition as well.

“Like many of my neighbors in Ocean Park who boycott this market because of the animal exploitation, I was not comfortable seeing ponies tethered and forced to plod in endless circles on hot concrete with band music hammering their ears and car exhaust in their face,” she said.

Winograd argues that local action is even more urgently needed because horses are specifically excluded from protection under the federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers.

“Everything I do is, first of all, for the safety of my animals and the kids that come,” she said. “My whole goal in life is to teach kids in the city about farm animals and how important of a role they play in our lives.”

Tonight’s meeting is scheduled to begin at about 9 p.m. at City Hall in Santa Monica.

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