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Campaign to stop public feeding horses gathers momentum

A campaign aiming to educate the public on the dangers of feeding equids without owners’ permission is gathering force at local and national levels.

H&H reported last month that a Facebook group had been set up with the aim of spreading the word, after a large number of incidents of horses and ponies suffering illness and injury, and dying, after they were fed by members of the public.

Group admin Natalie Munir told H&H that within a few weeks of its creation, the group Stop feeding our horses has grown to 6,600 members. Two petitions have been started campaigning for changes to the law, while members have succeeded in securing coverage on local newspapers, radio stations and websites.

“The number of people who have come forward is terrifying,” former groom Natalie said.

“There are horses in my village, right next to a footpath, and there are big signs up saying not to touch them because of Covid, and please don’t feed them, but there are always people there, touching them, and they gather round the gate.

“People think it’s a nice thing to do – they mean well, but they just don’t know the dangers.”

Natalie said the two petitions, to Change.org and the Government, are both attracting attention, while the media coverage is increasing. Group members have also been contacting local police forces and their MPs to highlight the issue.

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“I’ve put up a link so people can find their MPs, and will put up a demo letter, if that helps,” she said. “A lot of group members have also been educating people in local groups; sharing comments from people who said they hadn’t known grass cuttings were poisonous, or that they shouldn’t feed horses, but they won’t do it again. They’re definitely listening and reacting, which is great.”

Natalie said the group’s attitude is zero tolerance, of any feeding horses without owners’ permission, but that the message has to be put out in the right way.

“It’s about raising awareness in a friendly way,” she said. “There are of course some really emotive responses but that’s not the way to go about it. People mean well and are trying to be kind, so we’ve got to go about it the right way.”

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