We are urging people NOT to buy or eat Dartmoor Pony meat – totally refuting claims it could save the breed.
The Sanctuary has hit back at suggestions selling the meat would increase the value of the Dartmoor herds and have called for better breeding controls to prevent the ponies being slaughtered in the first place.
Our Managing Director Simon Avery said: “It’s disappointing to see Dartmoor Pony meat being promoted as a healthy and sustainable solution to over-breeding. We think some of the things being said about its benefits need looking at more closely.
“We would appeal to people not to buy it. They may think they are helping to safeguard ponies for the future but they may actually be making a complex problem even worse.
“We believe that many Dartmoor Hill Farmers don’t agree nor benefit from encouraging the over-breeding of ponies to promote their slaughter.
“Logically, increasing this market would lead to even more over-breeding with larger types being introduced to produce more meat per head and may even reduce the numbers of true Dartmoor Ponies on the moor.”
A recent Western Morning News poll suggested the majority of people agreed with the Mare & Foal Sanctuary with nearly three quarters of people saying they would not eat it.
Mr Avery added: “We really cannot understand why people believe that by eating them they are saving them. It makes no sense.
“It’s been proven that sensible herd management on Dartmoor using methods such as vasectomising, gelding or totally removing the colts and stallions will control over-breeding. It’s wrong that some people are treating it like an unsolvable problem – it’s not.
“Many people like us have been available to work with commoners who genuinely want to tackle the problem sensibly. Pretending you are helping ponies by killing them is just nonsense.
“It is our belief that the meat is being sold purely to increase profit – not to safeguard the Dartmoor Hill Ponies. Even if somebody has no ethical objection to eating Dartmoor Pony meat, they should challenge some of the things being told to them about its benefits to the ponies themselves.”