Sunday, 18 October 2020

New Expose: Whole Bodmin Herd Disappear Overnight - Published by The Daily Mirror Online - Missing pregnant ponies feared to have been taken abroad and made into handbags



Some of the missing East Moor population Including heavily pregnant mares and newborn foals

A whole population of ponies disappeared overnight on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall in July – about 80 ponies - mares, foals (many would have been classed as unfit for travel) and stallions – all rounded up and, it is claimed, crammed into 1 lorry under the cover of darkness in the VERY early hours of the morning. Whilst no-one appears to have noticed a whole population on a Common missing or even talked about it, I can’t let their story be unheard. 

For years we have campaigned for the ponies on East Moor on Bodmin Moor – fighting for laws to be enforced on a small area of land with arguably the worst welfare record in the country.  

With at least 3/4 of the 2020 pony population without passports and microchips any sale of these ponies would have been illegal, movement of animals without identification is illegal – as would any slaughtering for human consumption for those already over 6 months old.   

Over the years non enforcement of breaches of the Animal Welfare Act, transport regulations, microchipping/passporting laws and the Bodmin Commoners Act have effectively rendered the laws useless. Yet again the East Moor ponies have suffered – at least ponies 80 ponies crammed into a lorry would have been terrifying – it is illegal.

What's worse is that Trading Standards seem (from their statement) to have known that something was planned to happen but did not ensure any enforcement.  "We gave further ­formal advice to the farmer’s family on the welfare and identification requirements relating to the clearance and subsequent transportation of the ponies off the moor". “We are aware of the allegations relating to the transport of the ­ponies in question and have asked for evidence to be provided so that an investigation can take place. “We have not been provided with such evidence to allow us to take the matter any further".

It’s about time people started asking questions and started talking about what happens to our UK pony populations under the cover of darkness…

It’s NOT ok that lorries disappear into the darkness at 2am laden with ponies with no paperwork.

It’s NOT ok that people are too afraid to talk about it.

It’s NOT ok that we turn a blind eye to suffering and illegality and that there is never anyone prosecuted or held to account.

It's NOT ok the laws there to protect the ponies are not enforced and those who are supposed to enforce the laws are not held to account either.

It’s NOT ok that other authorities suspect the ponies went abroad but there’s nothing they can do to stop them.

It’s NOT ok that it is suspected this kind of activity is linked to the drugs trade or money laundering but there’s not enough evidence to pursue it because lorries are NEVER stopped.

It's NOT ok that owners are never held to account - for welfare neglect or other suspected legal activity.

What has happened is illegal

What is happening is illegal.

With no Bodmin pony sale this year I have asked the Bodmin Commoners Council what is happening to the ponies this autumn, what assurances are there that it is happening legally and what guarantees are there that there isn’t going to be a repeat performance of what has happened on East Moor on Bodmin.  I have not yet received an answer to these questions but we have noted ponies already gone from some areas within the last two weeks so it is important these questions are asked.

Some History...

In 2016 we publicised the mass deaths of 23 ponies from neglect/starvation on East Moor and many more in need of help and this resulted in large scale intervention with 2 round-ups with at least 42 ponies being seized in emaciated condition…No one was ever brought to account.  Large scale welfare crises had taken place before in previous years too - and no-one was ever brought to account then either.

A massive third round-up in 2016 on East Moor by the big charities drastically reduced numbers and the ID of ponies through microchipping was hailed a great success…BUT…stallions and colts were turned back out with mares…and since then with no round ups or maintenance, breeding was allowed to happen indiscriminately.  

This year numbers were up to nearly 100 ponies and the conditions on East Moor returned to hostile and totally unmanaged with emaciated ponies by the summer. 


The microchipping project was supposed to allow owners to be accountable for welfare neglect.  What happened when a known to be microchipped stallion in appalling condition was seized and removed from the moor in 2020? No action was taken to hold an owner to account. 

We were told the authorities in Cornwall were working towards a solution with the owner of the ponies.  If the removal of a whole population in this fashion this is their idea of achieving a solution when they are supposed to be ensuring laws are upheld then I despair.  We subsequently found out the other 20 ponies were taken from the moor reportedly a week before the 80 were taken.

Hindsight has shown us that ponies disappearing in this fashion often endured the most appalling journey shipped abroad (for which all sorts of paperwork and journey logs are supposed to be required but doesn’t happen and goes unchecked – more laws that fall by the wayside!...And remember the horse meat scandal?).

I have been personally promised 3 times by 2 different Lords of Defra that atrocities would not happen on this moor again…(twice those promises failed and we kept going)... We’ve campaigned so hard through incredibly difficult conditions on multiple occasions, helped contribute the new laws that were introduced in the Bodmin Commoners Act to run alongside the Animal Welfare Act, ID legislation and transport regulations.  We even conducted our own research into why such high proportions of the pony populations die. East Moor typifies all that’s wrong with the animal welfare justice system right now. 

I NEVER want to see any ponies turned out on East Moor EVER AGAIN – it and the people who are supposed to oversee it have consistently killed more animals and allowed them to go through more unnecessary suffering than any other area of land I know. 

  

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Friday, 9 October 2020

Chagford Pony Sale

It was Chagford Pony Sale on Dartmoor yesterday...
...Social event of the year for some...most traumatic day in the lives of others...





...We are in the midst of an equine crisis in this country and Covid has hit people so hard financially...when are these people ever going to learn that they need to stop breeding ponies??
Experience has shown us that once the ponies leave the moor any way of making money from the ponies is exploited...ethics just doesn't come into it...and many times we've also seen evidence of non-compliance with the laws that are supposed to be there to protect the ponies...we will continue to raise awareness where we can but there are still far too many ponies being bred...and there is no sign of that changing in the near future.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

We're Now on Social Media!

Thanks to the help of some wonderful friends, People4ponies is now on Social Media!  You can now find us and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/People4ponies-100288661429721/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/people4ponies/

Twitter https://twitter.com/People4poniesUK


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Monday, 11 November 2019

Still raining!


Photogenic moment today between the heavy rain and hail!  Beginning to wonder if it's ever going to stop raining!

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Sunday, 10 November 2019

We're Back to Blogging...Topsy's New Rug

Hello Everyone - We're back to blogging again!  It's been a very hectic time these last few months as many of our close supporters know, with Ted and Jenny both being so unwell and trying to get them sorted out.

Topsy's been very lucky because Margaret has bought her a new snuggly rug with a special neck cover - an early Christmas present!  And just in time too because the weather has been absolutely awful - rain, wind and gales pretty much constantly!  Now where ever Topsy is she can be warm and cosy!

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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Epic Haymaking Mission Achieved!

We are so very grateful to everyone who has helped us achieve our haymaking this year!  We now have 785 bales stacked and safe in the barn and it is such a relief to have it all successfully completed!

There are so many people we need to thank - with Ted now unable to do the tractor work for the hay,  and Faye's allergies making it very uncomfortable/difficult to breathe for weeks when handling newly made bales we relied heavily on outside help.  Margaret wasn't able to do the food prep either so we needed a plan B and a change of roles!

Roger's cake reward!
Our neighbour Roger was fantastic and did all the cutting, turning and reweing, and fixed the flat 8, and for 2 nights brought his tractor and trailer to help load bales and bring them in for us so people could concentrate on stacking.  This was such a huge undertaking and help for us, particularly when he had so many other things going on with his farm.  He was unable to stay for the food too so we hope the cake we made him to say thank you goes some way to rewarding him for all his hard work!

Whilst Roger was busy in the field preparing the grass for us, we needed to get the barn ready for the incoming new crop.  This meant a few days rearranging the barn and moving out A LOT of older and 2018 bales, cutting down any that had unusable bad ends and retying and then restacking again in the stable.  Archie was my "right hand man" with this and we spent 3 days moving bales and fixing any subsidence issues in the old stack.  We needed to fill any dangerous holes and take up all the old, loose hay which Margaret loaded up into huge dumpy bags. 

We have a permanent hedgehog nest in our barn so we are used to building this in and working around them.  On this occasion we also discovered a bumble bee nest and so there was much deliberation on whether we should try to relocate or move them.  Thankfully we've been able to leave them where they were and build around them - probably the safest solution for the humans and the bees!

Thanks to Ted and Jenny, we ordered food and drinks to keep all the helpers provisioned...but helpers were proving extremely difficult to find - our thanks to Jane, Sharon and Izy for taking to Facebook in an effort to find us some help.  With so little help coming forward but with with the weather thankfully set in our favour the only solution was to bring bales in over multiple evenings until we had it completed.  Angela agreed to come for a couple of days from Cornwall to help with tractoring and moving bales.
Thursday Night Hay Crew: Lucie, Louise, Andy, Angela, Archie and Callum

On Thursday evening the hay was baled.  Thankfully our helpers arrived!   Archie brought his friend Callum along to help...and we were joined by Andy, Lucie and Louise from Witheridge and between them they managed to stack half the crop!  It was so hot this evening - absolutely roasting and everyone worked so incredibly hard for us and they were determined not to stop and give up!  It's amazing how a group of people who have never met before can come together like this and work so efficiently for a common cause.  Great team work everyone!

The next day Archie and Angela helped me with the pony work in the morning and then over the course of the evening we were joined by Heather, Alex, Catherine, Victoria, Edward, Vicky, Jim and little Henry.  By 8 O' Clock everything was stacked in the barn and we could at least reward our helpers with food - which was Faye's main task...as well as all the other pony work of course!   

So...thank you again to everyone from the ponies...and to Ted and Jenny who donate the hay to the ponies meaning that we have a years worth of food for them - it is such a huge gift.  Whatever the weather the ponies now have a fully stacked barn of best quality hay and they are very lucky ponies indeed!



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Friday, 7 June 2019

NDVS Volunteer Award For Margaret

 
 A few weeks ago I nominated Margaret for one of the North Devon Volunteer Awards under the category of "Supporting Your Charity".  The awards are to recognise the commitment and contribution of volunteers in our local community.  Margaret's been volunteering for P4P for the last 12 years and so this was the perfect opportunity to ensure her work is recognised. 


Very sadly, due to her operation which was planned at short notice, Margaret was unable to collect her award herself at the awards ceremony yesterday evening...so thank you very much to Izy who stepped in to collect the certificate on Margaret's behalf!  I was able to stop off at Margaret's on the way back to the yard so she did at least still get her award on the same day!

There were over 200 people at the awards last night representing many different charities based in North Devon and lots of inspirational stories!  Thank you very much to NDVS for their work organising the awards!

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Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Pet Portrait


Thank you very much to Izy who sent Faye a present this week - a beautiful hand drawn portrait of Munchie as a way to remember him by - such a lovely idea. The postman bent it on delivery but hopefully it'll flatten out and we can frame it.  Such a talented pet portrait artist - thank you to Matt of Matt's sketches for his work and to Izy of course for commissioning it! 

Margaret is doing well after her operation and hopes to be back home soon.  It'll still be a little while yet before she's back "ponying" again!

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Saturday, 1 June 2019

June Calendar Features Babe


Babe is featured with a background of yellow buttercups for June.  This pony is the super model of the pony world - she knows just how beautiful she is and really sends the boys into a spin!  She is lucky enough to have a home with Frances and two of our ponies - Maisie and Jaffa.  In this photo you can clearly see her brand mark... but we found that people always found it difficult to read and mis-read the letters even when in it was visible.  It is still unbelievable that in this day of modern technology where we have facial recognition and the ability to track the tiniest of creatures...that it is still deemed essential/necessary to burn ponies with a red hot iron!

Our thoughts are with Margaret who is having an operation today, and Roy who is also recovering after an operation but feeling better.  Feels like all the departments at the RD&E are being tested out at the moment!

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

May's Calendar Photo


Everyone's loving this month's calendar photo of Tasha and Muddy which they kindly sent us to be added onto the 2019 calendar - and how could we resist?!  These two are very bonded and go on all kinds of adventures together!  When they lived close to us they would come and visit and Muddy would come and say "hi" to his old mates.  They've moved to North Devon now so I suspect Muddy might be making the most of some potential riding on the beach which I'm sure he will absolutely love!

When the original herd of over 50 ponies were living in the herd field Paul and Cilla would check the ponies everyday and count them to make sure they were all there.  One day a pony was missing and upon searching they found (the then un-named) "Muddy" stuck in a bog, just disappearing under the surface.  They were able to pull him out and took him back to the farm for some TLC.  He was a youngster but had no Mum with him and it's possible that she had died before the herd was rescued.  He's certainly grown into a very well-built, sturdy chap and I'm sure they'll have plenty more adventures to come!

Baby rescued Muddy on the right.  Girlie and her foal Bisto on the left.
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