A charity which highlighted the plight of ponies living on part of England’s Bodmin Moor says an intervention by authorities earlier this month has not been enough.
People4ponies’ spokeswoman Faye Stacey, writing in the organisation’s blog, said some of the ponies had been helped in the one-day operation by authorities, but the efforts had failed others.
Stacey said the death toll on one particular common within the 208-square kilometre moor in Cornwall had risen to 17.
One grey stallion, nicknamed Bob, who had featured in the charity’s original publicity about the issue, had since died.
Bob, she said, had been generously offered a place at Hillside Animal Sanctuary once the ponies had been seized from the moor.
“He wasn’t seized in the last intervention and he hasn’t survived making it to the next roundup date, whenever that is planned for,” she said.
“His herd are staying close by as they often will when they have lost a member.
“We hoped by featuring this pony in our releases it would help to get him and the ponies in poor condition noticed and removed from the moor. We hoped it would enable them to receive help, and homes where possible … some were helped – but Bob and others have been failed.
“They lost their lives out on the common, and others are still out on the common awaiting help.
“One day of intervention just wasn’t enough. More urgent action needs to be taken.”
Stacey was referring to an April 7 operation in which authorities stepped in, with 22 ponies being rehomed to local rescue groups.
The horse charity Redwings helped the Bodmin Moor Commons Council in the multi-agency initiative to round up, assess and rescue some of the horses. The operation also involved the RSPCA, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), World Horse Welfare, local rescue organisation Shires Holt, local landowners, and the police.
In all, 34 horses were rounded up and assessed by Redwings’ veterinarian Nic de Brauwere and APHA’s veterinary officer Lorna Stevenson.
Twenty-two horses were deemed of sufficient concern to be removed from the moor and rehomed to local rescue centre Shires Holt, as well as welfare charity Bransby Horses and other local shelters.
Another pony suffering from a disfigured foot was euthanised, while the rest of the group, judged to be healthy, were released back on to the moor.
“It is clear there is a big challenge in bringing about long-term improvements for the management of ponies on Bodmin Moor,” de Brauwere said at the time.
“The moor has the potential for native ponies to thrive, but these animals will always need human support – whether that be to compensate for limited grazing as a result of severe weather, ensure parasite and infectious disease control or attending to unexpected problems such as injury or illness.
“Indeed, our hope for the future of the ponies of Bodmin Moor is for them to have a natural life, but also to be familiarised with people so they can be supported with veterinary and routine healthcare when required. We also believe the balance of stallions and mares needs to be urgently addressed on the moor.
“This vision can only become a reality with the cooperation of everyone with rights to graze their ponies on the moor,” he said, adding that Redwings supported initiatives for better cooperation.
People4ponies acknowledged the action on its blog at the time, saying a lot of ponies had been removed, not only through this particular intervention. It said it hoped more help was to come.
It currently estimates 10 to 15 ponies are “waiting for help”.
“The crisis is not over yet … in the region of 50 ponies have been affected on this one common alone so far.”
Its blog, with more images, can be found here.