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VIDEO: More Than 30 Ponies Rescued On Bodmin Moor

VIDEO: More Than 30 Ponies Rescued On Bodmin Moor

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:00am 17th April 2016. (Updated at 9:55am 17th April 2016)

More than thirty ponies have been seized on Bodmin Moor, amid a so-called 'welfare crisis.'

Charities and organisations that helped in the rescue last week say many creatures are being left to starve.

The operation involved Redwings, the RSPCA, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), World Horse Welfare, Shires Holt, Adamsfield Equine and Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation - along with landowners, police and the Commons Council.

It was arranged to tackle the escalating problem of sick and malnourished ponies on sections of the Moor.

Experts say the situation has been made worse by the recent wet winter.

Pip Lovelock runs Shires Holt near Boscastle and said: "We found a little poppet bogged down in marsh and so we did our best to get her out of it; sadly we were unsuccessful. We got her out of it but sadly she was suffering from hypothermia, exhaustion and shock and had to be put down."

The organisation is now trying to raise money to buy equipment to carry out more rescues. It warns that, without it, more ponies will die.

Click here to find out about its appeal and how to donate.

WARNING - Some viewers may find the rescue distressing...

The group of 34 horses were rounded up to be assessed by welfare experts and vets from Redwings.

22 were of sufficient concern to be removed from the Moor and rehomed to local rescue centres Shires Holt, Adamsfield Equine and Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation, as well as welfare charity Bransby Horses and other local shelters.

Another pony suffering from a disfigured foot had to be put to sleep.

The remainder of the group that were judged to be healthy were released back on to the Moor but will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation Centre took in six of the ponies.

The Sanctuary is pushing for charity status and fundraising to help more sick and malnourished creatures.

Shelley runs the organisation and said: "It's something which has been going on for a significant amount of time but this year it has been a particularly difficult year. I don't really know exactly why but there are an awful lot of casualties this year and it has become a huge worry.

"Ponies on the moor are such a big part of the heritage. They play a big part in the ecology of the moor as well. Anything that comes in to us directly, goes directly into the ponies to get them to a situation where they become re-homeable and if we can help just give a few a future each year that's what's important."

Watch Shelley with one of the latest ponies to be taken in - Panda. Her hips and spine are protruding underneath her matted fur and she has not been able to get up onto her feet without help.

WARNING - some viewers may find the footage distressing...


Senior Veterinary Surgeon Nic de Brauwere has been supporting welfare work on Bodmin Moor for many years. He said: "It is clear there is a big challenge in bringing about long-term improvements for the management of ponies on Bodmin Moor.

"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, and this is why we fully support the newly established Bodmin Moor Commons Council and their development of management plans that work for the commoners, the land and the animals."


bodmin ponies 6

Redwings rescued and offered a home at the sanctuary to 19 ponies found in a severe state of neglect in 2011. A year ago it supported the rescue and ongoing care of a stallion and a mare and her foal. They were named after characters from Poldark, having been rescued from the very spot where scenes from the programme were filmed.

One year on from the rescue of the Poldark ponies, Redwings says real strides have been made for ensuring the safe future of the Moor's equine population, including the establishment of the Bodmin Moor Commons Council on 1st March 2016.

Nic added: "We fully support the Council's plans for long term change for the regulation of the Moor and in the interim will continue to offer help to the ponies in need.

"Identifying owners and those with rights to graze is the primary challenge faced by the Council. It is a UK-wide problem that despite passport and microchipping legislation, equine identification is not being enforced rendering it impossible to bring irresponsible owners to account.

"Bodmin Moor should not be seen as an area for abandoning or fly-grazing horses, and owners who allow their horses to fall into the terrible state of neglect that we have seen as a charity first-hand and as recently reported should face the consequences under the Animal Welfare Act."

Commenting on the round-up APHA Veterinary Officer Lorna Stevenson said: "I would like to thank all involved for their support and hard work making this complex and challenging operation a success. Since 7th April, Julie Dowton of Bodmin Moor Commons Council and Pip Lovelock from Shires Holt have been out on the moors daily and have identified more ponies in three locations that require removal and rehoming, and APHA will be accompanying them on further visits this week."

Click through the rescue gallery below - showing the ponies before and after...


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