A call for owners to take responsibility has been made after shocking images of starving ponies on Bodmin Moor have come to light.

People4Ponies has posted pictures of dead and starving ponies on its blog page in a bid to raise awareness of the crisis on the moor.

“In the last month at least 11 ponies have died out on the common from neglect and starvation, too weak to survive they have been dropping dead out on the moor, their carcasses left to rot,” it states.

Bodmin Moor’s commons council became a statutory body on 1 March and member Julie Dowton said one of its priorities is to implement effective management of all livestock on the moor.

“We would be the first people to shout for prosecution if we could find the owners of the ponies,” she told H&H.

“The problem for us, which it has been all along, is that the ponies are not microchipped and passported [so we cannot trace the owners].”

Since February, they have overseen the removal of 17 ponies from the moor and more ponies have also been identified for removal.

“We have not sat back — we are taking ponies off there and there are still ponies identified to come off,” added Ms Dowton.

Homes have been found for all the ponies removed from the moor and Ms Dowton said the deceased ponies will be removed or buried as soon as the weather permits.

“One of the first jobs of the commons council will be to look at the marking of ponies and how we are going to identify and register them,” she said.

“In the future, regardless of a pony’s condition, if it is not supposed to be there or not registered with us, then we would be able to move it straight away.”

It is a legal requirement for all horses to have a passport and microchipping of foals has been compulsory since 2009. However, some owners ignore the law.

This makes it difficult to trace a horse’s owner. Without an owner, it is not possible to prosecute.

History

This is not the first welfare crisis on Bodmin Moor.

Two years ago more than 20 ponies died on the moor in a week and in a similar incident in 2011, Redwings Horse Sanctuary took in 19 ponies.

Last year, H&H also reported that three ponies — a stallion, mare and foal — were rescued from the moor.