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Protesters march against 'irresponsible' pony breeding

An eight-day march across Dartmoor has got underway in an effort to prevent ponies being bred for human consumption.

The organisers say they want to raise awareness of 'irresponsible breeding' programmes and have criticised conservation methods which encourage the slaughter of the animals.

Three pack ponies are taking part in the 164 mile walk from Dartmoor to Exmoor, carrying supplies for the trip:

The ponies at the beginning of the walk on Dartmoor Credit: A voice for ponies
The ponies are native to Dartmoor Credit: A voice for ponies

Exmoor 'Pony Whisperer' calls for action to protect breed

Dawn Westcott amongst her Exmoor Pony herd. Credit: Nick Westcott

A woman known as the Exmoor Pony whisperer is calling for more action to protect what is an endangered breed.

Dawn Westcott says anyone can learn the techniques she has developed to build a bond with these wild animals.

She told our reporter Bob Cruwys something of her methods.

Dawn runs The Moorland Exmoor Foal Project with her husband Nick and believes the techniques she's developed can help protect this endangered Exmoor icon.

Dawn Westcott is known as the Exmoor Pony whisperer. Credit: Nick Westcott

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Pills for Dartmoor ponies

A new scheme to tackle the problem of Dartmoor's overbreeding ponies begins today. World Horse Welfare is teaming up with The Friends of The Dartmoor Hill Pony and local vets to provide a group of 20 mares with a contraceptive injection.

The semi-feral ponies will be first rounded up into a holding area where they will be micro-chipped and also marked so that they are identifiable at a distance. They will then be given the injection, and four weeks later a second dose will be administered.