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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 16:30 GMT
Ponies found starving on moor
Moor pony
One mare is being kept under supervision
Seven starving ponies have been rescued from a moor in Cornwall.

The animals were found emaciated and close to death in the Colliford Lake area of Bodmin Moor on Thursday.

The animals were rescued by the South West Equine Protection group (SWEP) after one of its members alerted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to the ponies' poor condition.

Six of the seven rescued ponies are expected to recover. However, one mare is being kept under constant supervision because of her condition.

Grazing rights

The animals were seized on welfare grounds after a state vet went to see a herd of animals on the moor and said that several were in trouble.

Defra notified all the local farmers that had grazing rights and said that animals needed to come off the moor.

But no one claimed the animals that were taken in by SWEP.

Maureen Rolls of SWEP said: "No one was claiming these animals. The owners for the rest of the herd came forward, but not for the ones that were ill."

Supplementary feed

For most of the year moorland ponies are able to survive simply by grazing the land. But during the harsh winter months that simply is not enough.

Ms Rolls said: "These animals were in a confined area that was fenced off. What they needed from December onwards was supplementary feeding of hay and solid feed that they evidently hadn't been getting."

Six of the seven rescue ponies are expected to make a good recovery. But one mare may not be quite so lucky.

Maureen Rolls said: "It's so upsetting, but what can we do? She has to have the chance to live. And if that chance is there, we'll certainly give it to her."

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