Mare Contraceptive News

DEFRA and two equine rescue charities together with the local Knackerman  have been accused of incompetence and malicious intent by those working to prevent the cull of Dartmoor Hill Pony foals. South West Equine Protection, The Mare and Foal Sanctuary and Andrew Goatman made an unfounded complaint to DEFRA will cause maximum damage to ponies on a contraceptive scheme.

Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony have been running a scheme for four years, where the mares are put on a contraceptive to prevent them from having foals in the spring, therefore reducing the foal numbers while still grazing the moor evenly. It has a 95% success rate but relies on booster jabs to ensure that the mares are protected all year round.

SWEP and the Mare and Foal Sanctuary incorrectly complained about the contraception project, sparking an investigation which coincided with the booster jabs, causing the ponies on the scheme potentially to become pregnant at the wrong time of year.  The ponies will have to struggle through the winter heavily pregnant and there will be unbearable suffering to newborn foals, not equipped to cope with biting winds and freezing rain.  The actions of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, SWEP and local knackerman Andrew Goatman raises serious questions about the lack of concern and knowledge for pony welfare that these charities claim to uphold.

DEFRA launched an excessively lengthy and detailed investigation into the Dartmoor Hill Pony Contraception scheme, finding it to be faultless, but having taken enough time for all ponies on the scheme to miss boosters.  

Had the scheme not been disrupted by unfounded claims and had the time taken by DEFRA to complete the investigation been more reasonable, over 140 foals and their mothers would have been saved from this cruel fate.

Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony will re-start the DEFRA inspected mare contraception scheme in the Spring when sufficient funds have been raised, with a view to finishing their study .  If you would like to make a donation, please go to and use the Charity Checkout button.