Monday 28 March 2022

10 Year Anniversary!

Today is the 10 year celebratory anniversary of Faye running People4ponies!

Faye’s been a volunteer at P4P for 16 years altogether and took over the running of P4P in 2012 when Paul and Cilla retired. Faye says she’d really like to thank everyone for their support in so many ways in that time. Together over that time we all as People4ponies have:

- Provided the true definition of sanctuary for ponies in our care.

- Stopped the ear notching and ear cutting of moorland ponies.

- Reported and upheld standards at moorland markets ( 6 when Faye first started, now there is 1 left)

- Exposed the live exports of moorland ponies.

- Exposed the neglect on areas such as East Moor and worked to get action for ponies on Bodmin Moor

- Conducted research and revealed the heavy metal toxicity exposure to ponies in certain moorland areas.

- Campaigned for a ban on hot branding of ponies.

- Educated people in the sympathetic handling of ponies (including training fire fighters!)

- Pushed forward boundaries in laminitis rehabilitation

- Pushed forward the understanding of rehab of traumatised ponies

- And probably most importantly Faye has tried to make sure P4P has been a true voice for the ponies themselves.

It’s about Faye using her resilience and strength; speaking out and exposing injustice; and getting positive change for the ponies themselves. Special thanks to Vanessa Bee, Helen Breeze, Margaret Hunston; Jane Schofield; Ted and Jenny; Shaun; Thea; Sophie; Nicole and Martin; Catherine Edwards; Wendy Price; and Kathryn for helping with the social media and all the people and companies who support us!

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Saturday 4 December 2021

Mirror Online Publish Article

Some interesting extra quotes in this one:
- Dartmoor Commoners Council " “We are sorry to learn of the alleged breaches of animal welfare and understand that trading standards are investigating the matter.”"
- A spokesperson for the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association said: "We will wait for trading standards to finish their investigation before commenting."

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Tuesday 16 November 2021

What happens to "Dartmoor ponies" - Can you help us fill in the gaps?

 Beyond the clever PR Marketing, do you know what happens to ponies from Dartmoor once they come off the moor?  Can you help us fill in some of the missing information?…They don’t all go to good homes…these are some of the things we know happen and have happened…

 ** ZOO MEAT – “Farms are not set up for humane slaughter.  Ponies are shot in all kinds of set ups.  Some go through a cattle crush, others are done in a yard or lorry where they see what’s coming.  Watching one die before the next.  Mares separated only a small distance away often within ear shot and within view.  The mares go back out onto the moor and shout for days {for their foals}. The shooting of ponies is used a breeding management tool. Year after year, having foals to shoot them, how stupid is that?

The Guardian reported previously how the unborn foetuses are cut from the carcasses of adult mares as part of the processing.  

£33,000 was raised for equipment for processing pony meat.  Pandas are rare and kept in zoos, zebras are rare and kept in zoos but “Dartmoor Hill Ponies” are marketed by Dartmoor as rare (often quoted as only 1200 left) – and killed to feed other zoo animals rather than being valued as individuals themselves.  


**SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH – An expose in 2016 showed that Dartmoor and Welsh ponies were used in experiments where pregnant mares gave birth and then their foals were involved in medical experiments.  Cambridge University bought ponies direct from a farmer.  The study was funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board.  We have found this study: “”. 

We had an anonymous report of a shipment of ponies being sold from a farm on Dartmoor to Scotland for scientific research – FOIs did not find them in veterinary institutions.  Does anyone have any more info or knowledge about ponies going for research purposes?

** THE FARMERS’ PONY MEAT SCHEME – Trying to convince the UK general public to eat horsemeat rather than stop the irresponsible breeding practices. Is “Preserving a pony” keeping it alive or preserving it in a freezer?!  Do your own research about who is involved and whether you think it is ethical…


**DRUMS – marketed as being the “Symbol of the ponies' voice...calling you to listen to their cry for support to help them continue looking after Dartmoor". We know that in 2013 Dartmoor Hill pony hides were being priced at £250 each.

**THE UNDERGROUND – This, we suspect, applies not just to ponies from Dartmoor but those from Bodmin too, and possibly beyond.  Once you start asking questions and doing FOIs it becomes blatantly clear the numbers don’t add up…and sometimes the UK government or agencies won’t even answer basic questions.  EVERY year there are still reports of lorries full of ponies going out of the country via Ireland and this year is no different.    Before it was part of the Horse Meat Scandal, the dealers mysteriously disappearing from the markets once it was exposed.  We also know that one dealer that used to be at the Bodmin market was stopped at Stranraer in Scotland and prosecuted and jailed for hiding £750,000 worth of drugs in between horses in his lorry destined to travel across the Irish Sea. 

Photos from Equine Rescue France

People on Dartmoor and Bodmin will know what’s happening to this year’s ponies right now – seen lorries, heard the “word on the ground” – what have you heard?   Last year a whole herd of Bodmin ponies disappeared overnight and the ponies could not be traced at all – not even to slaughterhouses in this country and no change of ownership ever applied for.  It is common knowledge “they” know how to get out of the country completely unchecked.  In 2010, 30 ponies from Dartmoor turned up at a market in Maurs, southern France (spotted by Equine Rescue France) in appalling condition and were bought by Italian dealers to be destined for the meat and skins market in Italy.  Described as "dead on their feet" and most with eye infections and a couple of them lame – the dealer wanting 250 euros each for them.  A rare unexpected glimpse of a stopping point.  These ponies have consistently been exploited in what is most likely an underground trade linked to more serious crime – much bigger than me, you, or the ponies themselves and with no government agency or large organisation or Dartmoor agenda prepared to protect them, investigate, or enforce the very legislation that is there to protect them. 

 Racehorses are being shipped from Ireland to the UK for slaughter (as seen on Panorama).  Ponies are disappearing from here outwards – Ireland is the only word mentioned…it could be a lot further than that.  We know that in 2018 as many ponies with Dartmoor Pony passports as Wetherby’s racehorses were slaughtered in Ireland - 77.  Numbers with a Pet ID passport (general equines) were 52.  By 2019 the total was 20 DP, 26 Pet ID…… Only one slaughter plant is approved for equines in Ireland… so it seems Ireland may not be the end destination…


Ponies on Dartmoor are being bred and disposed of without any regard to responsibility for the long term future of these ponies.  The market and county fair hype is a PR fa├žade.  People reported more foals being bred this year than for a long time – I’d encourage everyone to keep your eyes open and start asking more questions.    In 2010 (13/10/2010) a prominent figure of the DHPA featured on BBC Radio 4s Farming today programme about the ponies on Dartmoor and stated categorically that Hill ponies DO NOT go for meat but are sold as riding ponies…by the December of the same year their story was blown out of the water by the national press…whistleblown - the papers revealed how more than 700 ponies had been shot that year alone.  Not all farmers are bad.  We are here to expose what needs to be exposed and ask questions on behalf of the ponies who suffer at the hands of people who would have us believe they are custodians of a breed…and that the ponies ALL go to good homes…


Source information and links – please do research yourself:

** Zoo meat links:

·         Slaughter quote – from a whistleblower whose identity we need to protect.

·         Guardian

·        700 ponies

·         Photos of the slaughter of ponies

·         £33,000 equipment 

·         Numbers of ponies in existence:  At the moment there are approximately 1100 mares on the moor, producing around 900 foals per year,Carneddau%20Ponies%20left%20in%20Snowdonia.  Census data indicate that the Dartmoor Hill Pony herd has declined from a high of 12,250 in the 1960s to 1,200 today. 1200

 ** Scientific Experimentation links:  Cambridge University had authorisation from the Home Office to carry out cruel experiments on pregnant horses and their unborn foals. Up to 150 horses over a 5-year period (until 2018) could be used. The experiments could involve:

·     -  compressing umbilical cords or cutting umbilical vessels during pregnancy so that unborn foals do not receive enough nutrients

·      -  surgically removing glands

·       - injecting the animals with hormones or drugs that affect growth and metabolism


** Drums

·  .instead we are supposed to think that a Dartmoor Hill Pony hide drum is a "Symbol of the ponies' voice...calling you to listen to their cry for support to help them continue looking after Dartmoor"...

·         £250 pony skin


** Farmers Meat Scheme





** The Underground


· - Dealer stopped and prosecuted 


· - Admission that half of ponies head overseas

·        Maurs market Equine Rescue France

·        Numbers of ponies slaughtered in Ireland – via FOI request.  English FSA refused to answer questions arguing data protection.


 Summary quote:

·         Farming today quote

See links in zoo meat section for published articles about shooting of ponies

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Monday 15 November 2021

Devon pony sanctuary releases video footage of cruelty as it calls for end to annual live auction of Dartmoor ponies

News Release 14th November 2021

• Video reveals new buyer kicking young foal as it is loaded into trailer – available on Facebook/Twitter

• Video reveals pony wrestled and dragged into lorry including being lifted off the floor by its tail - breeching Welfare of Horses at Market Act 1990.

• Welfare of Horses at Markets Act 1990 not adhered to with the majority of animals left without water for the duration of the day.

• Devon Trading Standards have received People4ponies’ report and footage from the sale and are investigating.
•    Foals from as young as 4 months old for sale       •    Highly stressed animals crammed into overcrowded pens
•    330 wild animals sold in a day – with few people having the experience to handle these animals, especially the adults – no home checking or suitable facilities checked.

• Appeal for more information after anonymous report of two lorries full of ponies headed to Ireland soon after the sale.

People4Ponies, a pony sanctuary dedicated to helping wild and traumatised ponies, is calling for an end to the "Chagford Drift Pony Sale", an annual auction of wild ponies taken off Dartmoor. The call follows the 2021 auction that took place in October, involving the sale of highly stressed and traumatised foals as young as four months, taken away from their mothers and thrust into an unfamiliar and frightening environment. Many of the ponies were in overcrowded pens, left for hours in the full sun, most without food, and the majority without water with only one seller out of the 20 listed having been seen to provide this.

People4Ponies has submitted a complaint (including video footage and report) to Trading Standards, the UK government body responsible for monitoring and investigating animal health and welfare of animals at markets.

The group also has concerns that no checks are carried out on the people who buy the ponies to see if they are suitable for the responsibility of having a pony. Footage taken of a teenage boy kicking a pony as the animal was loaded onto a trailer raises serious questions regarding the fate of many of these ponies.

The tourists who visit Dartmoor, are 'fed' the romantic and nostalgic picture of the ponies roaming freely across the moor. This picture hides the stark reality of what happens to the ponies: the extreme stress experienced by many of these ponies at the auction, who only days before had been roaming freely on Dartmoor.  In the wild, foals can remain with their mothers until they are around two years old, but most of those sold at the market were likely to have been still suckling when they were taken away.

People4ponies is also very concerned about a report of 2 lorries of ponies leaving for Ireland soon after the sale and they are appealing for more information. 

Spokesperson for People4Ponies, Faye Stacey stated:
We are very concerned about an anonymous report of 2 lorries headed to Ireland after the sale and we would appeal for more information—last year a whole wild herd of Bodmin ponies disappeared and couldn’t be traced by the authorities and a huge lorry was said to have also headed to Ireland.’

’The Welfare of Horses at Markets Act 1990 is supposed to protect the ponies for sale.  Ensuring they are prevented from suffering thirst, not kept in overcrowded pens (there were 29 ponies in one of the pens) and that they are not to be lifted off the ground or dragged by the head, neck, ear, leg or tail. The need for water in particular is greater when the individuals are in a highly stressful situation, as is the case at this Sale. The market authority is required to ensure that an adequate supply of wholesome water is available for horses and that adequate facilities in the form of troughs, drinking bowls, buckets or other drinking devices are available for watering horses.  Sadly no-one was seen to enforce these regulations on the day.’

’Literally anyone can buy a wild pony at a market – whether they have any relevant knowledge, experience or not.  It takes very specialist skills to handle wild ponies, particularly the adults who will not only be wild but will have been through unsympathetic handling and hot branding.  The average horse owner or riding school does not teach the specialist skills and knowledge needed to tame these animals.  To put things into perspective the biggest charity in the country rehomes 300 horses in a year after receiving training – here in the region of 330 wild horses were sold in a day.  Whilst some will have found good homes I worry about the future of ponies such as the one captured in the footage being kicked by its new owner.’


- For further information, please contact: Faye Stacey, People4Ponies: Tel 07968 071179 Email:

- High resolution photographs and video footage available.  Video is already available on or can be sent by WeTransfer
- The Welfare of Horses at Markets Act 1990

- Number of horses rehomed by World Horse Welfare:

- Illegality of Ponies being Exported:

All ponies, whether registered (“pure-bred” ponies) or unregistered (ponies such as Dartmoor Hill ponies with no pedigree), are supposed to be legally protected under the Minimum Value Legislation to prevent them from being exported from Britain to Ireland or Europe for slaughter. For any pony under 14.2 hands high to be transported to Ireland or Europe they must have documentation, which includes proof of their value of £300 for a pony between 12-14.2hh, £220 for a pony up to 12hh and £145 for Shetlands up to 10.2hh. An export license is required, and a fitness to travel or health certificate signed by a vet has to be included. If unregistered ponies are being travelled to Europe then a Journey Log is also required which includes details of the transit, stopping areas so that legal journey times are not exceeded, and a vet is supposed to check the animals on departure and on arrival - but any pony being travelled has to meet the minimum value requirements.  There are now new regulations that require more prechecks such as blood tests and quarantine periods before horses can be transported.

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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!




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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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