Thursday, 20 November 2014

More Research Results Surrounding Dartmoor Hill Ponies...Meat And Passporting

As Dartmoor Ponies have been on television yet again this week...I thought it would be useful to share the results of our recent research with you...

Margaret's been doing some research, and we are pleased to say that the following shops and suppliers are committed to not stocking pony, horse or equine products...I think it's fair to say that most expressed their shock and disgust that it had even been suggested:
  • Tesco "I wish to confirm that Tesco does not sell any horse/pony meat and there won't be any UK retailers that do.  It is not illegal as such in this country but it's not something we sell or have any plans to".
  • Waitrose "I can confirm that Waitrose has no intention of using or stocking horse or pony meat now or in the future".
  • Sainsbury's "I can confirm that we do not and will not sell horse or pony meat in our stores at any point".
  • Morrisons
  • Asda
  • Lidl
  • Aldi
  • Budgens and Londis
  • M&S
  • The Co-op
  • Harrods
  • Booths
  • Fortnum & Mason  "We have absolutely no intention to offer Dartmoor pony meat for sale, now or in any future instance".
  • Wholefoods Stores
  • Palmer Harvey
It is also interesting to note that Defra have also confirmed our understanding of the current passport laws, which means that it is illegal for adult moorland ponies to be passed into the human food chain unless they have been passported as foals.  Most ponies on Dartmoor are unpassported (because their owners choose to benefit from the derogation) so would not currently qualify for any proposed scheme.  The clarification from Defra states: 

"Since 28 February 2005, all owners of horses, ponies and other equines in the UK have been required to have a passport for each animal in order to comply with European legislation. This also applies to horses owned before that date.  Passports are important food chain documents, which show whether a horse is eligible for slaughter for human consumption.

The administration of certain veterinary medicines (including bute) renders horses unfit for human consumption, therefore this information must be recorded in the passport by the prescribing veterinary surgeon.

It is an offence to fail to obtain a passport for your horse either by the 31st of December in the year of its birth, or six months from the date of its birth, whichever is later. If a passport is issued for a horse outside of these timescales, then it must be signed out of the human food chain and cannot be slaughtered for food.

There are derogations (specific exemptions) that apply to defined populations of Dartmoor, Exmoor and New Forest Ponies; specifically those registered in the relevant studbooks or lists and living wild or semi-wild within the designated moors or forest.

These animals do not have to be identified unless moved off their home areas; treated with any veterinary medicinal product; or brought into domestication, including within the designated area.

Adult ponies can only go to slaughter for human consumption if they have been fully identified through a horse passport within the normal deadlines as outlined above.  Derogated ponies under 12 months of age may be moved direct to slaughter without a passport, but they must be identified with a rump sticker (that bears a unique number and date of application), and be slaughtered within seven days of the date on the rump sticker"

It would be nice to see some media coverage supporting the farmers and breeders who are trying to change Dartmoor for the better...the Commoners' Council are still yet to act despite the fact that 92% of the pony keepers want change...and somehow the 8% are the ones getting all the media coverage!

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