Bodmin Moor crisis: further action taken to help ponies

  • Ponies involved in the Bodmin Moor crisis are receiving ongoing care following a large-scale round-up last autumn.

    The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Bodmin Moor Commons Council and multiple equine welfare charities took part in the major operation.

    Passports and microchips were given to 169 ponies and dozens more, who were unclaimed and had no identification, were taken off the moor by charities and local residents.

    Bransby Horses in Lincolnshire, which took in eight ponies at the time, has since taken in 10 more who were being kept by local residents until space became available at the charities.

    Named by staff, Buttercup, Blossom, Camellia, Primrose, Ivy, Daisy, Lilac, Jasmine, Tulip and Snowdrop were assessed by vets on arrival on 14 January. Sadly Jasmine had developed an infection from an old injury, which could not be treated and she was put down.

    It is hoped the remaining nine mares will move to the charity’s handling yard for rehabilitation and rehoming.

    Blue Cross is another of the charities that has been helping with the Bodmin Moor situation.

    It took in 26 unclaimed and neglected ponies for rehabilitation and rehoming and also helped with the round-up and identification of ponies on the moor.

    “The ponies were in a dreadful state when they arrived,” said Vicki Alford, of Blue Cross, Burford.

    “Most were very weak and underweight and terrified. We put them all in one large field as a group for a couple of weeks, to give them security and stability within their own herd before moving them into stables for castration, microchipping and passports.”

    They were gradually introduced to hard feed and their handling and training has now started.

    The round-up

    On 12-15 September 2016, helpers from animal welfare charities the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Bodmin Moor Commons Council rounded up and documented the ponies.

    They worked with the British Horse Society, World Horse Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, the RSPCA, Bransby Horses and Blue Cross.

    It is estimated there are around 500-600 ponies running free on the moor, which has been used for livestock grazing for hundreds of years.

    However, indiscriminate breeding, a shortage of grass due to poor weather and overcrowding has led to welfare problems.

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    While many owners who have grazing rights monitor their ponies, a lack of formal identification and enforcement of laws has led to other ponies being abandoned or illegally grazed.

    Charities have been helping for years, with several major round-ups taking place.

    “This was a huge task but one with a real impact as the ponies now remaining on that part of the moor are all microchipped, health checked and most importantly they all have an owner who is responsible for their care,” said Nicolas de Brauwere, head of welfare and behaviour at Redwings, who led the operation.

    “Meanwhile those that were abandoned to their fate will not have to go through yet another winter without the proper care and management they need.

    “We are so thankful to the Bodmin Moor Commons Council, Blue Cross and all the charities, both those who assisted with the operation itself and those who have offered homes to these poor ponies.”

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