Progress in paint trial to prevent equine road deaths

  • Finding a way of binding reflective beads to ponies is the next step in a trial aimed at preventing equine deaths on Dartmoor’s roads.

    Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society (DLPS) hopes that painting reflective stripes on animals that graze the moors could help stop them from being hit by traffic on roads across the moors at night.

    Karla McKechnie, DLPS livestock protection officer, told H&H there have been 78 deaths of hill ponies, sheep and cattle on Dartmoor’s roads this year.

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    This autumn, the society trialled a paint on the coats of two ponies with the hope that it would stick for at least three months.

    The trial was a success, but they now need to find a way of mixing it with a durable reflective component.

    “The reflective beading we tried did not stay on very long,” Ms McKechnie said.

    “Fingers crossed we should have something in the New Year.

    “We are in 2015 — there has got to be a product out there.”

    She said she is confident that a suitable mix will be found.

    Ms McKechnie first had the idea after seeing a photo of reindeer in Finland with reflective paint sprayed on their antlers.

    “If we can make it work, hopefully it will slow down the number of deaths on the roads,” she added.

    “People are just not aware — we have a serious problem on Dartmoor.”

    During the winter, animals often come down to the roads to seek shelter and lick salt off the gritted surfaces.

    By October, the number of livestock deaths this year was already higher than the total for 2014.

    Speaking to H&H earlier this year, Charlotte Faulkner of the Dartmor Hill Pony Association said she thought it was a “really brilliant idea”.

    Tony Tyler, of World Horse Welfare, added: “Anything that can help bring the number of injuries down should be welcomed, provided it does no harm to the ponies.”

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