Injections for Dartmoor Pony Herd
herd of Dartmoor ponies are to get contraceptive injections in
a bid to reduce the number of unwanted foals. The injection
will be given to 20 animals in the spring and if the trial is
successful it could be expanded.
According to the the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association the foals
are not in demand in the current economic climate and there are
currently too many of them.
Jonathan Lamming, of Dart Vale Veterinary Group said that this
type of intervention was in the forefront of equine reproductive
technology and that enquires were made in Australia and America,
because there are no drugs in the UK that could be used to control
the fertility of horses.
To help with the trial the first batch of the drug has been donated
by pharmaceuticals company, Pfizer, and imported from Australia
following the issuing of a special licence by the government
to allow the importation into the UK to take place.
If the drug proves to be successful it could be used in other
native pony populations, such as the New Forest and Exmoors.
Charlotte Faulkner, of the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association, said
the foals were a "by-product" and because of the economic
climate there was not a market for them.
"I hoped the project will avoid the need for young unsold
ponies to be slaughtered. We are trialing the scheme to see
if it has the advantages that we need. I have been looking for
a possible method of contraception for more than 10 years and
this is the first time we have found something which is suitable.
The ponies are a vital part of the ecology on Dartmoor. The way
they have graze, in conjunction with the sheep and the cattle,
over thousands of years have created Dartmoor the way we know
and love it," she said.
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