Monday, 21 November 2016

Bodmin Moor Ponies on BBC Breakfast

Today we were on Bodmin Moor to film with BBC Breakfast television who wanted to cover the story of the ponies on Bodmin Moor and the number of annual pony deaths there...The weather was absolutely torrential and Bodmin looked as bleak as ever.

I was really shocked at the lack of grazing in some areas today, as shown in the photo above - the ponies have to overwinter on this for the next 5 months and there is already very little to eat.  Just down the road from here in a field was a big, red, bull with a ring in his nose, leaning over a barbed wire fence desparate to eat the grass on the verge the other side - as I drove by I could see the 2 strands of barbed wire he was leaning over pressed hard against his chest - he was desparate to reach the grass...

...We have been told there are currently no plans for supplementary feeding to be provided for the Bodmin ponies this winter and so our message to the media and authorities is key for this year - there needs to be compulsory supplementation of hay by owners, mineral provision all year around, and safe water sources provided (with toxic supplies fenced off).  Without this there will be more deaths of ponies this winter.

Between March and June 2016, the People4ponies blog highlighted to the media and the public the ongoing situation on East Moor where 23 ponies died and at least 42 ponies were seized in emaciated condition (see the link to the left of this posting). Large scale problems have taken place on East Moor for many years. During 2016 offers of hay drops for the ponies on East Moor were rejected by the authorities. It is time action is taken to prevent these annual problems rather than only trying to act once there are animals in severely emaciated condition.   

It is great the media have highlighted the plight of the ponies, that the Commoners' Council has been formed, and that there have been efforts to start microchipping ponies...but unless changes in management are made regarding feeding, the same problems that have existed for so many years will persist.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states that animals must be provided with a suitable environment, suitable diet, and be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.  It is very important that provision of food comes from owners and/or from the Commoners' Council and the authorities. The animals are owned and should NOT be fed by the public. This can cause fighting between animals, cause the ponies to approach cars making them susceptible to road traffic accidents, and horses are susceptible to colic from eating the wrong foods.

 At the beginning of 2016, People4ponies decided to undertake a ground-breaking research project into the causes of the large scale, annual, equine welfare problems on Bodmin Moor.  The results of the scientific testing on 2 Bodmin Commons have been published on the People4ponies website and can be found on the following link:
The results revealed huge deficiencies of minerals on East Moor and a combination of factors contributing to starvation.

At Minions/Caradon Hill, the results revealed heavy metal toxicity (including arsenic) onsite, ponies with bioaccumulation of heavy metals/toxic elements, and pasture deficient 6 out of 7 minerals (unable to provide even a minimum daily recommendation levels for breeding and non-breeding animals). As the ponies are "farmed" animals there is potential for toxicity to be passed into the human food chain, or into consuming animals.

This research has the potential to end the welfare problems on Bodmin Moor...and we need your help to make this happen! We would like to ask our supporters and the public to spread the word on social media about this research and to seek assurances from the Bodmin Commoners' Council, Defra, MPs Scott Mann (East Moor) and Sheryll Murray (Minions), and the big charities which have been involved on East Moor and Bodmin that the ponies are fed this winter, that clean water supplies are provided for livestock at Minions/Caradon and the dangerous water sources are sectioned off. If hay is sourced from areas away from Bodmin the better mineral content would benefit the ponies.

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