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Dartmoor Ponies

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are (a) to mark and register Dartmoor ponies and (b) to prosecute owners of such ponies who neglect their herds; and if she will make a statement. [120506]

There are no plans to introduce a statutory requirement to mark Dartmoor ponies. However, the Government is planning to introduce legislation by the end of 2003 which will require all equines to have an identity passport. Dartmoor ponies, the owners of which hold grazing rights on Dartmoor, will not be required to have a passport until they leave Dartmoor for the purposes of sale, slaughter or veterinary treatment. These animals will be recorded in a list held by the Dartmoor Commoners' Council. The list will record all the details which would be contained in a full passport. We also understand that the Dartmoor Commoners Council will require that each animal is freezebranded.The Dartmoor Commoners' Council is responsible for the husbandry and welfare of farm animals and ponies grazing common land in the Dartmoor National Park and for enforcement under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985.