Saturday, 21 November 2009

Mutilating procedures

I just need to point out that although the emotive issue is 'hot branding' we would include ear cutting and ear tagging as practices that we want to see banned.

The hot branding of agricultural animals is already banned in the UK.

The British Equine Veterinary Association, the British Veterinary Association and the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe are unanimous in their condemnation of hot branding and say it is 'unacceptable'.

Most certainly the worst cases appear to be Exmoor semi-feral foals who often suffer inappropriate handling immediately prior to, and during, the application of at least 3 hot brands.
(see link below)

Microchipping is now compulsory (as from July 2009) and we know that this could be achieved for semi-feral foals with a minimum of human contact OR by prior sympathetic handling.

It is really encouraging that people are beginning to think about and question WHY branding happens. We continually hear that the branding is for the welfare of the ponies but in reality we see it causing welfare issues, not resolving them. We’ve heard all the reasons why but the arguments just don’t stand up in practice or theory – branding isn’t necessary for any Exmoor ponies – whether they are semi-feral (“wild”) or domesticated. It’s become a tradition for breeders on Exmoor and it’s great that in other parts of the country, people are questioning that tradition and seeing that micro-chipping alone is an effective means of identification.

If you own ponies – wild or domesticated, you are expected to be responsible for their welfare. In our work over the last 7 years we have had to develop ways to work with and rehabilitate semi feral ponies…including branded, registered Exmoor ponies and many ear-cut ponies. We have two ponies here at the moment who cannot yet be handled…they are typical of many of the other ponies we have helped - they have been so frightened by their experiences of people that we have to put a lot of care and attention into rehabilitating them. It’s really frustrating - what these ponies have been through is completely unnecessary. The problem doesn’t go away for them, or us, with the passing of October.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done P4P. Someone had to point out that the brands on Exmoor ponies are completely unnecessary! Brands aren't a form of permanent identification - they often can not be seen, especially in winter with the thick coats of the ponies. The herds are on separate parts of the moor so the location of any accident will tell you who owns the pony, not a brand! The breeders will only breed from registered stock on the moor so the Exmoor star brand is totally unneccesary and a number on the rump of a pony is not going to tell you its exact location if it is injured. How would they be able to help the pony anyway if they can't even get close to it?!