'Feeding our ponies could kill them': The warning from New Forest animal owners

  • Watch a video report by ITV Meridian reporter Richard Slee

Owners of grazing animals are warning the public not to feed them because, they say, the food could kill them. 

It follows the case of a pony called Hamish who collapsed after being fed a roast dinner and other food by well-meaning visitors to the New Forest.

The increasing number of animals dying or becoming very ill after being fed by strangers has led to a new campaign being set up called 'Stop Feeding Our Horses'

A recent investigation revealed that dozens of animals have died after being fed too much of the wrong food and the number is rising because of the increase in people going for walks in the country during lockdown.

  • Equine vet Sarah Mould is the vet who treated Hamish. She says people don't realise that some animals have very delicate digestive systems

Six-year-old pony Hamish is now recovering after his ordeal where he underwent a complex four hour operation to clear a blockage of food.

After the vet visited, his owner Gail found a half eaten roast dinner in the field and then she had to stop a woman feeding her other pony fruit. 

The rise in these incidents has led some owners setting up a campaign to stop strangers feeding animals.   

Natalie Munir 'Stop Feeding Our Horses' campaign says: "They are doing it out of kindness, it's not malicious, they think it's a nice thing to do. They might have some mints in their pocket and they decide to give it to the horses and ponies, or an odd apple or carrot or even handfuls of grass over the fence, without realising how dangerous it is."

Two online petitions now have gathered about 16,000 signatures, but the group say more than prosecution, it's publicity about the issue that's important.