Everyone involved with horses is being reminded to keep a close eye out for the toxic plant ragwort as part of Ragwort Awareness Week, which runs this week (12-18 July).
The British Horse Society (BHS) is asking the public to complete a survey on the plant and help record the extent of the problem in their area, in order to track the amount and location of ragwort around the country.
Mapping software will be used to highlight those areas where ragwort is most prevalent and the number of animals grazing in ragwort-infested fields will be calculated.
Lee Hackett, BHS senior welfare executive, said: “Ragwort has been causing horrible deaths to horses and ponies for many years and yet it seems to have become more widespread in its distribution. Even when it isn’t in a field grazed by horses it produces seeds that the wind can carry long distances, which spreads the problem in future years.
“The laws surrounding ragwort are not being enforced and we need to stand up and be counted. We must take action now rather than sit back and allow the problem to become progressively worse”.
To fill in the survey visit: www.bhs.org.uk.