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BVA Questions BBC Screening Of Illegal Horse Mutilations

14 years ago
3026 views

Posted
19th November, 2010 12h05


The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has contacted the BBC programme ‘Countryfile’ following the broadcast of an item on identifying wild ponies in North Wales using ‘ear marking’ on 31st October 2010. The programme visited a farmer in Snowdonia during the annual health check during which the wild ponies are brought into the town with support from the Countryside Council for Wales. During the programme presenter Jules Hudson asked the owner of the ponies, farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, how he can tell which pony is which. Gareth Wyn Jones explained that each pony has ‘special ear marks’ and there was footage of ponies with both ear tags and ear notches (marks or cuts). However, ear notching is no longer permitted under the Animal Welfare Act. The BVA contacted Countryfile expressing concern at the programme’s contents and asking for a clarification to be made. Countryfile responded to explain they were not aware of the law in relation to ear notching and tagging but that they would undertake to clarify the facts in a future programme. The BVA has also been contacted by the pony welfare charity People4Ponies expressing concern about the ongoing practice of ear notching and tagging in England and Wales. In light of the programme the BVA is asking its members to remind horse and pony-owning clients that ear tagging and ear notching are not permitted in Great Britain under the Animal Welfare Act as they do not appear in the list under Schedule 1 of the Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) Regulations 2007 (or under the Animal Health and Welfare [Scotland] Act). Since July 2010 there has been a legal requirement that all horses and ponies are permanently identified by microchip (with some small exceptions) and the BVA believes this removes the need for any other form of identification, such as ear marking and hot branding, even for wild equids. The BVA will also contact Local Government Regulation (the new name for LACORS – the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) and the Welsh Local Government Association to ensure that those with responsibility for policing animal health and welfare legislation in England and Wales are taking the appropriate action. Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “This is a simple fact of legality and it appears there was widespread ignorance of the rules amongst all those taking part in the programme. “As veterinary surgeons we have a responsibility to work with clients to ensure they are complying with animal health and welfare legislation. Ear mutilations are not permitted and we must make sure that message is reaching horse and pony owners. “The BVA will also be contacting those responsible for enforcing the legislation relating to ear mutilations in horses and ponies to make sure the law is being policed.”

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