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ILPH ILPH Supports Get Tough Stance With Dartmoor Commoners

Recent press reports on a possible RSPCA cull of Dartmoor ponies has yet again
highlighted the perennial problems caused by overbreeding of the ponies on the

The ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses) have spoken out in
support of the Commoners Council who, following a meeting in Tavistock on Monday
15 October, announced a new get tough approach to stop the commoners from
overbreeding with their moor ponies.

Says Jeff Herrington, ILPH Field Officer for the South West, "These poor ponies are in
a 'no win situation', the public don't want them, even the meat men don't want them,
supply is outstripping demand and something had to be done.

"Last year there was little or no demand for ponies and those sold were only fetching
50p. It's then left to the charities to pick up the pieces - unsold ponies were dumped
by the side of the road - others ended up in garages and gardens on urban housing
estates, rescued by well meaning people with little or no knowledge of horse welfare."

From 1 January 2002 all Dartmoor commoners will have to comply with the Code of
Guidance, or face legal action.

John Hodge, Chairman of the Commoner's Council, comments "Up till now some
commoners have been flouting the Code by turning unaccredited stallions out on the
moor and leaving foals out with the mares after the lst January. This leads to
inbreeding and pulls the mares down which causes welfare problems.

"Any unaccredited stallions or foals found on the moor after 1st January will be
impounded and the owners taken to court."

Jeff Herrington adds, "We wholeheartedly support this get tough action to improve the
quality of these ponies. The emphasis of the ILPH has, and will always be, that the
farmers must improve their breeding stock in order to produce a quality pony that will

"Now that the Commoners Council is to enforce their powers this will mean that in
three or four years time we will finally start to see ponies produced that will have a
market value."

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