Martin Clunes has received some bad news after animal welfare charity Born Free dropped him as their celebrity patron. It comes after footage of Martin riding an elephant for his ITV show, My Travels and Other Animals, was aired. The actor received criticism on social media for climbing onto the elephant using its trunk and ears while filming in Nepal for last week's episode.
Martin caused upset by riding an elephant
Born Free chief Howard Jones said: "We can confirm that, with much regret, Martin Clunes is no longer a patron. Born Free has always been opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions, including riding elephants. There is clear evidence that training, keeping and riding captive elephants causes distress and suffering."
Campaigners are now demanding that ITV apologises and drops the show from its catch-up service. However, the broadcaster has said it was "deeply unfair" and "misrepresentative" to suggest the show endorsed cruelty, as the Men Behaving Badly star "made it very clear he had serious concerns about elephants carrying people" during the episode.
In the episode, the actor voiced his concern about riding the mammal, but said using the animals for tourist purposes was "a kinder life than hauling heavy logs". After awkwardly climbing atop the elephant, he is shown apologising, saying: "I didn't want to hurt her."
The 57-year-old is no longer listed on the Born Free website. Speaking about the charity in the past, he said: "I like to do whatever I can for Born Free whenever I am asked. I love the Born Free Foundation, it steps in wherever there's an animal facing cruelty, abuse or unfairness of any kind... any animal in any place. It's a truly unique resource for wildlife conservation with a knowledge base built on years of work in the field in so many countries with so many different species. You should love it too."
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