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New Forest visitors warned off ponies

New warnings have gone out to people that they will be breaking the law and could be putting themselves in danger if they feed ponies in the New Forest.

The alarm was sounded this week in the wake of comments by a Compassion in World Farmingspokesperson that families come to the forest from all over the country to “stroke, feed and take pictures of them in idyllic surroundings.”

Controversial Minstead commoner Bob Cooper took issue with the implication that feeding the ponies was accepted as part of the Forest way of life, whereas it can be dangerous to get too close to the animals.

He told a meeting of the New Forest Committee at Lyndhurst, Hants: “The person who made that comment might as well have added ‘and depart minus the odd finger and bruised by a good kicking.'”One might also hope they would take away a summons for breaking the by-laws.”

He added that he hoped people “whose knowledge of the Forest has really plumbed the depths” would have no part in the running of the Forest if it becomes a national park.

His warning received support from official verderer Maldwin Drummond, who described the remark about feeding the animals as “not a very sensible one.” He added: “I would urge people not to approach ponies in that way.” –

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