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: http://www.people4ponies.co.uk/dartmoorponies.html