We all know that one of the first people to suffer in the recession were those that have pets that they couldn’t afford to keep in the first place, as inflation has increased and the cost of living soared many families found that they were unable to care for their beloved family pets. Cats and dogs were the most expensive small animals to look after as vet bills soared and many households could not afford insurance. The next increase in abandoned or uncared for animals is the Dartmoor Pony.
Horses and ponies have been extremely popular for young children as they grow up together and share a special bond but as the cost of feeding, bedding and care has gone up many families have had to sell or give away their horses and ponies. The Dartmoor pony is no exception, a while ago they would sell for as little as £1 but a minimum price of £10.50 has been introduced, even with these small price tag farmers and breeders are still unable to shift them on to good homes.
On average 100 Dartmoor ponies are slaughtered each year due to keeping the breeding stock strong and healthy but slaughter men have seen an increase in perfectly good ponies being slaughtered due to lack of interest. The cost of breeding a pony and then waiting for a sale adds up to the breeder and the longer it takes to move them on the more expensive it gets.
As unsuitable buyers step forward breeders have no choice to sell them so they can make a profit but keeping a pony in a small shed or greenhouse is unacceptable with many buyers being completely unaware of how to look after these ponies. Breeders who are unable to sell their stock have resorted to selling them off to the local zoo, Dartmoor Zoo. The Tigers are very happy with the premium meat they get and the Zoo has reported that the Tigers have a much better looking coat due to the protein in pony meat.
It is now though that the Dartmoor pony is even rarer than the Giant Panda with only 1,500 left as opposed to the 30,000 we had just a century ago. Unfortunately they need to have a £5 microchip inserted, a £10 pet passport and also a bale of hay costs around £18 and as they cannot digest food properly they have to continue eating. These high costs are what are attributing to the decline of interest in Dartmoor ponies, it is a shame that many children will not know these fantastic animals but unless rules and regulations are not so strict the ponies will continue to be culled.