Thursday, 19 January 2017

Somerset Council Grants Planning Permission For Slaughter Yard For Dartmoor Ponies

Despite opposition from many parties, including welfare groups, last week Sedgemoor District Council in Somerset granted retrospective planning permission for a slaughter yard for wild ponies.  The slaughter yard was promoted as being needed for the survival of ponies on Dartmoor.  The building blocks a public footpath which is in contravention of planning rules.

This abattoir is not an essential service needed for ponies on Dartmoor and should not have been proposed or recommended as such.  Devon itself had already rejected previous planning attempts for a slaughterhouse for ponies.  

Research has continually shown that the vast majority of pony owners want stallions to be removed from Dartmoor to prevent the annual mass over-breeding and culling of hundreds of ponies.  Sedgemoor making this decision supports a minority who refuse to remove stallions from the moor, intent instead on pursuing an abattoir for ponies in a drive to promote them for human and animal consumption.  This effectively sabotages the whole pony population because responsible owners (who had removed or vasectomised stallions to prevent mares from getting pregnant) are forced to breed foals when they have tried their best to avoid breeding unwanted animals.    It is not necessary for over-breeding to happen in order for conservation grazing of Dartmoor to take place.

To read more about the situation on Dartmoor, including the removing stallions and the contraceptive scheme please go to the following link:

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Daily Mail and BBC Spotlight Cover P4P Research into Heavy Metals on Bodmin Moor

BBC Spotlight filmed with us at the yard this afternoon about our research into heavy metals on Bodmin Moor.  The research P4P conducted last year revealed a particularly toxic water source at Minions - a level of arsenic of 1826 ug/l when the livestock limits are set around 25-200 ug/l.  It also revealed an extremely high toxicity of arsenic in a deceased pony and levels of bioaccumulation in others.  The full results of the research are available on our website

The BBC reporter did a great job of explaining the situation in such a short piece.  They were able to cover our research into the toxicity and also appealed for owners (and not the public) to feed their ponies hay during the winter to prevent pony deaths this winter.  The piece is available on BBC Iplayer for a short period of time.  Thank you to Margaret, Roy, Jas and Ted and Jenny for their help this afternoon!

The national newspaper The Mail on Sunday published a shortened version of the Bodmin story that we've been working on with them for a couple of months.

As part of Nick Constable's research he contacted APHA who claimed that tests they conducted on ponies showed no evidence of heavy metal toxicity - but we questioned this as the tests APHA conducted wouldn't be able to reveal heavy metal toxicity.  When the journalist went back to APHA to question this, they conceded they had not tested ponies for heavy metal toxicity at all!

Also as part of his research, Nick contacted a Professor of Physiology and the full article stated:

"David Gardner, Professor of Physiology at the University of Nottingham Veterinary School, said: 'For sure, this would be a toxic level of arsenic in water.

‘It's very high, it would be absolutely awful for the pony.'If the animals were drinking this they wouldn't be anything to warn them. It wouldn't taste any different.

‘A high amount reduces the function of the kidney and liver. It can mess up the ability of the animal to process other minerals and affects the metabolism.’

A research study published in May 2016 conducted by a University of Manchester PhD student discovered toxic exposure to arsenic in Cornish private water supplies. 5% of the Cornish private supplies tested had concentrations of toxic arsenic exceeding 10 micrograms per litre - exceeding World Health Organisation guidelines.  The study concluded there was strong evidence that people were being exposed at concentrations potentially detrimental to their health. The researchers suggested that installing suitable water treatment or using alternative supplies for drinking water could reduce their exposure, and any consequent health risks.

Comparing the results, the levels of arsenic and iron returned in the pony drinking pools were much higher than those found in the Manchester University study. To compare…The Manchester University arsenic results that were above recommended levels ranged from 11-233 ug/l – our sample 1 result came back as 1826 ug/l.

The Manchester University readings for iron above recommended levels ranged from 200 to 4210 ug/l units. The comparable unit reading from our sample 1 result was 12,100 ug/l.

From our research last year we have been calling for 3 simple measures to prevent the annual problems on Bodmin Moor:
 Compulsory winter feeding of hay by owners
 Provision of minerals all year around
 Clean water supplies with toxic water sources fenced off.

The campaigning continues...

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Thank you...And Rain!

Our sincere thanks to all the lovely people from The Associated Free Spirits who have donated the proceeds from their 2016 meetings - tonight we were presented with a cheque for £200 - thank you so much everyone - we really appreciate it! 

We've had rain every day for the last 6 days now so we are very pleased to have the yard and hard standing for the ponies...and all that hard work our volunteers put into making hay last July means that they have plenty of food.  They don't even really want to be out in the field that long!  We could have snow later this week...!!

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

We Do Love This Weather...Frosty Weather Ponies!!

Morning Room Service Please!

Super Fluffy Coats!

Arthur and Munchie

Munchie's Getting Better!


Thank you everyone for donating the ponies' herbs - they do look amazing - this weather always shows their coats at their fluffiest!  A special thank you to Thea for sending Munchie his very own New Year special box of herbs to help get him better...and to Roy and Archie for coming to help today!

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2017 - Happy New Year!

Those of you with your 2017 People4ponies calendars will be greeted with this beautiful image taken by Claudia Mellor - this is Ebony, one of the adult mares rescued in the original P4P herd. She has an earnotch as you will see in the photo of her ears below.  Ebony is very elegant.  She was fiercely protective of her young. Munchkin was one of her foals - though he seems to have more the build of his Exmoor dad (probably Tunny).

Ebony now lives conservation grazing with another of our ponies - Apache - and they live with Larry the pet sheep.  The calendar photo was taken on a frosty day on the nature reserve.  Such lucky ponies!  Ebony is one of our sponsor ponies.

Ebony in the herd field

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Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Year In Review

What a year 2016 has been!  Here's a brief review of the year for P4P...

...January started with frosty weather, Margaret being out of action for a while...and we had our amazing day visit from the ladies at Naturally Animals!

February saw the arrival of Puffin and Babe and the new chickens.  Babe was really quite poorly with pedal bone rotation and laminitis...we were also becoming aware of a crisis unfolding on Bodmin Moor...
In March Topsy had her own adventure and Puffin went to join our conservation herd and became instant best friends with Breeze...

...And we used the blog to expose the crisis underway on East Moor, Bodmin in an effort to get help for the ponies there.  At the point of our blog release there were 11 dead ponies out on the Common and very many in emaciated condition.  We never expected that this campaign would need to be so long running and the last emaciated ponies were finally removed in June.  In the end at least 23 died and 42 were seized in emaciated condition between February and June 2016 - on just one Common.  This was the start of our big research project into testing the ponies and the environment on Bodmin Moor. of Babe continued at the yard, we did our annual round-up of our conservation ponies...and Wolfie arrived!

Topsy upgraded herself to the greener pastures of the sheep field in order to increase calories and make sure she has plenty to eat!

In July we made our hay, rescued a family of hedgehogs...and the ponies demolished one whole wall of the stable! 


In the late summer, Thea ran a workshop for P4P and Angela was making preparations for her quadbike adventure...there was lots of writing up and collating the Bodmin results.


 October saw the release of our Bodmin research...and we patrolled and reported on the 3 wild pony markets Brendon, Hallworthy and Chagford.  Bill the horse dentist came to visit Bobby and Wolfie.

 In November, Babe moved to her new home, the first snow of winter fell, Christmas fundraising stalls were underway...there was a feature on BBC Breakfast...and a water leak had to be chased.


And in December Munchkin returned!

What a year it's been!  We've met some amazing and very courageous people and as ever we are very grateful to all our volunteers and supporters!  Thank you!

Happy New Year everyone - we hope 2017 brings lots of joy, hope, and happiness to the world...and positive changes for the ponies that need it the most!

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Friday, 30 December 2016

Wolfie's "Freestyle" Agility

Look who we found doing horse agility on his's Wolfie!  Clever boy!!

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Helpers

Making friends with Graham
We hope everyone has been enjoying their Christmas!  We've been really lucky this week as we've had lots of extra help - thanks to Archie, Peter, Roy and Graham, Margaret and Martin.

Munchie pre-bath trying out his hoof boots

On Christmas Eve Munchie had a bath - he was such a good boy!  We don't normally wash them at this time of year and we'd picked the warmest day possible...but it was very difficult getting him dry again...despite lots of rugs and towels on radiators!  In the end we spent 2 hours drying him using a hair dryer which he rather enjoyed.  Peter did a good job offering Munchie essential oils, and thanks to his efforts Munchie was fighting fit on Christmas morning - which was great to see.  With all our visitors he's been making lots of friends and has been for quite a few walks already!

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