The one day operation – involving Redwings, the RSPCA, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), World Horse Welfare, local rescue organisation Shires Holt, local landowners and the police – was arranged to tackle the escalating problem of ill and suffering ponies on sections of the Moor; a situation exacerbated by the recent wet winter.
A group of 34 horses were rounded up to be assessed by Redwings’ Head of Welfare and Behaviour and Senior Veterinary Surgeon Nic de Brauwere and APHA Veterinary Officer Lorna Stevenson, 22 of which were 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 sadly euthanased, while 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.
Nic, who has been supporting welfare work on the Moor for many years 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.”