Eat Moor ponies suggests conservation paper

This is The West Country: Eat Moor ponies suggests conservation paper Eat Moor ponies suggests conservation paper

PRINCESS Anne sparked controversy in November when she suggested that Britons should eat horse meat but now moorland herd owners on Exmoor have suggested a similar idea.

In his conservation paper, a leading equine expert and vet, Peter Green, reports that several moorland herd owners were in favour of killing off Exmoor’s free-living ponies and selling them as horse meat.

“The free-living ponies within the Exmoor National Park: their status, welfare and future” was commissioned by different conservation groups including the Exmoor Pony Society.

It took into account the views of 18 moorland herd owners, eight of whom thought the pony meat would be successful in local restaurants, hotels and butchers while five were horrified at the idea.

Mr Green wrote: “Several contributors, including moorland herd owners, Society committee members and others expressed the view that the British aversion to eating horsemeat was both illogical and unhelpful to the free-living Exmoor ponies.

He continued: “As there is so limited a market for ridden ponies, show ponies and conservation grazers, why not promote the free-living Exmoor ponies as a food animal as much as an amenity or aesthetic resource?”

The County Gazette asked staff at butchers store Stuart Lowen in Minehead if they thought pony meat would be popular.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t ever get requests for horse meat; can you imagine eating a pony with chips and peas?”

The report also notes that conversation with visitors to the moor while the report was being undertaken suggested the meat product might prove popular with tourists.

Mr Green added: “Committee members of the Society were not, on the whole, opposed to such considerations; indeed, they were supportive of any enterprise that would provide a market for moorland ponies.”

But there was worry from some committee members that it could put off tourists visiting Exmoor to see the animals.

Mr Malcolm Westcott, a pony herd owner from Porlock, said: “If they decided this was an option I don’t think it would go ahead.

“There aren’t enough Exmoor pure-bred ponies to satisfy the demand.

“I’ve also heard the meat goes dark quickly and, therefore, it wouldn’t be good for human consumption.”

Comments and feedback are invited on the report which can be made by January 31.

For more information visit www.exmoor-nationalpark. gov.uk

Comments (3)

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5:35pm Thu 2 Jan 14

mrlogic1 says...

I personally ate moor pony meat for three or four years during the 80's.
we used to cull them in September to keep the population in check rather than send them on horrid inhumane journeys abroad and it was one of the most clean & healthy meats i have eaten very lean and very tender people just have to get past this we are British and do not eat horses attitude once you have eaten it you will be pleasantly surprised.
I personally ate moor pony meat for three or four years during the 80's. we used to cull them in September to keep the population in check rather than send them on horrid inhumane journeys abroad and it was one of the most clean & healthy meats i have eaten very lean and very tender people just have to get past this we are British and do not eat horses attitude once you have eaten it you will be pleasantly surprised. mrlogic1

6:51pm Thu 2 Jan 14

FreeSpeech? says...

Totally agree with you, being against any live exports except for breeding I have no problem eating horse meat especially if it will keep the breed alive.
Totally agree with you, being against any live exports except for breeding I have no problem eating horse meat especially if it will keep the breed alive. FreeSpeech?

8:24pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Balgorg says...

It will be a sad day when ponies are served up as a dish.
But in times past the ponies were eaten.
Particularly when other food is scarce. I have 3 Dartmoor ponies, and I could never imagine eating horse meat. It would be like eating my cat or my dog.
Apparently horse meat is really good for you.
One of the problems is that the people who love horses, possess the skills, have the land and the money-buy thoroughbred's or cobs, they dont buy ponies. The problem is the same the world over with isolated populations of free living ponies facing a bleak future. If horse lovers could be persuaded to buy ponies instead of giants then the market would improve. I cant see that happening any time soon.
It will be a sad day when ponies are served up as a dish. But in times past the ponies were eaten. Particularly when other food is scarce. I have 3 Dartmoor ponies, and I could never imagine eating horse meat. It would be like eating my cat or my dog. Apparently horse meat is really good for you. One of the problems is that the people who love horses, possess the skills, have the land and the money-buy thoroughbred's or cobs, they dont buy ponies. The problem is the same the world over with isolated populations of free living ponies facing a bleak future. If horse lovers could be persuaded to buy ponies instead of giants then the market would improve. I cant see that happening any time soon. Balgorg

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