Friday, 3 February 2017

Bodmin Update - East Moor

Some of our supporters have been asking for a Bodmin update and whether we think there will be problems with the livestock this year...

...Last Sunday (29th January) we went to the Common which we highlighted with our welfare blog last year - where at least 23 ponies died and 42 were seized in emaciated condition.  It is certainly the area of Bodmin that received the most this is what we found last on the photos to enlarge them.

The Environment...The weather last weekend on East Moor really helped to show how bleak and poor the environment is up there...this Common is only approximately 3 miles in area, which might sound like a big area but this is what the animals have to eat...

"The better area" - one of the "river" channels where the grass is a little better than on the higher parts

The higher areas - very wet and the
 vegetation is extremely poor

The marsh areas - and lichen on
 the trees

The skull of one of last year's dead ponies 
When there is a rare patch of green grass, it is so intensively
used, particularly by the cows, that they are turning into latrine areas.
 The Livestock...On the 29th we saw 3 herds of beef cows - approximately 75 cows.  One herd was being fed on the moor and we saw them running to meet the farmer.

On the opposite side to the fed herd were two herds of thin beef cows - we passed the photographs on to Trading Standards, who in turn informed Animal Health and the Commoners Council, who we were told would visit the following day.  These cows were still out on the moor on the 3rd February.  They are clearly not able to get enough sustenance to maintain their body weights - as the photos show - spine, pelvis, hips and ribs all clearly visible.  

We didn't see any sheep out on the moor.
Thin beef cow with pelvis, hip, ribs and spine visible

Some of the ponies which were part of the September round-up have "disappeared" and haven't been seen for 2 weeks - they had tags in their mane and were spray painted.  We think that they must have been removed from the moor by their owner(s).  

There are 2 "unmarked" pony herds - some of these ponies were removed before the September round-up and then put back out after it had happened.  Whilst they wouldn't be considered thin yet, they have clearly lost their summer reserves now, the mares are pregnant and the spring grass doesn't come until May.  We will be watching...the ponies are still a concern to us, as are the cows!

                             So Bodmin is still an area to be watched this year!

Just for comparison - the photos below were taken on the north side of Dartmoor - just 25 miles away - they were taken the same day as the Bodmin photos and Dartmoor looks so much greener and so different to Bodmin!

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