Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 17:26 UK

Worry over slowdown in pony sales

Dartmoor pony: Pic Eve Hotchkiss
It is hoped more ponies will be sold at another auction in December

Poor sales of Dartmoor Ponies at the annual drift auction could mean more animals being slaughtered this year.

The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association said the slowdown in sales has been caused by the current economic problems and passport rules.

Strict restrictions on moorland grazing mean the unsold ponies cannot be put back on the moor, so they are killed.

Hundreds of ponies are rounded up during the Dartmoor drift every autumn and sold at auction.

Each pony sold must have a passport, so if it is sold for meat, human health is protected in the countries where horse meat is eaten.

However, Charlotte Faulkner from the association said another auction would be held in December and she was hopeful the situation would improve.


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