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Equine Identification & the semi-feral ponies of Wales

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The derogation allows for pre defined populations of wild or semi wild ponies to remain on designated areas without either a passport or micro-chip.

However, these animals need to be identified in accordance with the Commission Regulation before a movement takes place from these areas. In addition the derogation allows animals from these pre-defined areas to be transported directly to a slaughterhouse provided it can be identified in such a way that it provides scientific guarantees as to the identity of the animal.  

Which organisations have successfully obtained a derogation?

  • The Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau – covering the Carneddau ponies of Northern Snowdonia.
  • The Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales covering the 26 individual pony Improvement Societies covering 23 hills and commons in South and Mid Wales. The individual societies and the areas they cover are listed at the end of this document.

Only those ponies managed by the above organisations are covered by the derogation, all other ponies kept on common land are subject to the requirements of the Equine identification (Wales) Regulations 2009.

Can anyone who has semi-feral horses/ponies grazing on commons in Wales apply for a derogation?

In principle yes but they would need to persuade the Welsh Government that they have detailed management plans in place in respect of such ponies and that they are able to adequately demonstrate that such management plans are in operation. Any additional applications for a derogation would only be granted if the organisations responsible for the commons seeking a derogation could provide the Welsh Government with the guarantees required to assure the European Commission that the requirements of the Regulation in respect of identification and traceability could be met. The Welsh Government would also need to seek approval from the European Commission before additional derogations could be put in place.    

Why have these organisations been given a derogation?

Both the Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau and the  Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales made a case to the Welsh Government seeking a derogation for their ponies.  The semi-feral ponies are considered by many to be part of the landscape, culture and heritage of Wales; they provide conservation benefits, helping to maintain the ecology and environment in which they live. The hardiness of the breed is maintained by the natural environment in which these ponies live. It was argued that many of the ponies, colt foals in particular, were of such low value it was uneconomic to actually passport and micro-chip these animals. Owners need to mange their herds, this includes the disposal of surplus stock. The derogation allows owners to remove surplus animals from the commons / hills without incurring the additional costs of micro-chipping, a cost that in many instances may well be greater than the sum that these foals would fetch at auction.

What ponies are covered by the derogation in Wales?

The Carneddau ponies

These ponies are of Welsh Mountain type but because of their unknown pedigrees they are not associated with a studbook. The ponies belong to members of the Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau who have grazing rights on the commons know as Aber, Llanfairfechan and Llanllechid. The ID only Passport Issuing Organisation - Pet ID are associated with these ponies and will be issuing passports and overseeing the micro-chipping of animals that leave the designated area.  

Management arrangements have been put in place allowing these ponies to remain on the Carneddau without passports and micro-chips until such time as they are removed from the derogated area. The derogation allows the Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau to run an annual sale at Abergwyngregyn.

Ponies retained by members of the Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau for future breeding may do so without the need for a passport or micro-chip provided they are identified in lists kept by the Society. Those owners identifying them by passports will need to micro-chip at the time the application for a passport is made.  

The Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales

Ponies that are managed by the Hill Pony Improvement Societies are pure bred Welsh mountain ponies and therefore eligible for full registration with the Welsh Pony & Cob Society as semi-feral Welsh Mountain Ponies. Ponies must be kept on the designated areas, belong to members of the individual Hill Pony Improvement Societies who have grazing rights on the commons / hills and must be sired by premium stallions.  

Management arrangements have been put in place allowing these ponies to move from their individual hills / commons without passports and microchips to be sold at a specific semi-feral sale to be held annually at Brecon Market.  

Ponies retained by members of the Hill Pony Improvement Societies of Wales for future breeding will need to micro-chip at the time the application for a passport is made.  

What is the process by which these ponies may be sold?

The semi-feral foals belonging to members of the Carneddau Mountain Pony Association may be moved to the sale premises at Abergwyngregyn and those belonging to members of the Hill Pony Improvement Societies may move to Brecon market on a passport application form and unique rump sticker.  

Both organisations are organising specific sales for these semi-feral ponies. If owners wish to offer them for sale at an alternative market they would be required to have a passport and be micro-chipped before being moved to an alternative venue.

At both Abergwyngregyn and Brecon Market foals will be able to be offered for sale provided they are accompanied by a completed passport application form. The application form will need to contain information relating to the foal, its breeder/owner, a completed silhouette, a detailed description of the animal and the number of the unique identifying sticker linking the pony, sticker and application form together. It will be the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the application form is completed accurately, the passport fee is included and the unique rump sticker is correctly attached. Any animals arriving at the sales that are considered unfit on welfare grounds or do not have the correct identification will be excluded from sale.  The unique rump sticker, issued in conjunction with the market premises and approved PIO, must show the date on which it was attached to the animal (sale date) and bear a unique identification number.

Those foals sold to private homes (i.e. not for slaughter) will have to be micro-chipped by a veterinary surgeon before leaving the sale premises. Responsibility for the cost of micro-chipping will fall to the purchaser (new owner). The micro-chip number will be linked to the application form, a copy of which will be given to the purchaser, allowing the foal to move to its holding of destination. The Passport Issuing Organisation will process the application form and forward the passport to the purchaser within 30 days of the sale. It will be an offence to move the animal off the holding of destination until it has received its passport.

Those foals (under 12 months) sold at the sale for slaughter will be able to travel to the slaughterhouse on the passport application form and rump sticker. The foal must be slaughtered within seven days from the date that the sticker was applied to the animal. It is an offence to slaughter a foal if this deadline has expired. There will be a requirement on the slaughterhouse to return the rump sticker to the issuing PIO so they may complete their records.

Derogation for the movement to slaughter from the holding of birth.

Semi-feral ponies under 12 months of age may be moved directly to slaughter from the derogated area without the need for a passport or micro-chip provided they move on a unique sticker issued by an approved PIO. This sticker must show the date on which it was attached to the animal and bear a unique identification number. The foal must be slaughtered within seven days from the date the sticker was applied to the animal. It will be an offence to slaughter the animal if this deadline has expired. Slaughterhouses will be required to return the rump sticker to the issuing PIO to complete their records.

Veterinary treatment

If an un-identified semi-feral animal (i.e. without a passport or micro-chip) is treated with any veterinary medicinal product it must be fully identified within 30 days of the treatment. Veterinary Surgeons asked to treat those ponies kept within the derogated area that have passports must ensure that medicines administered are in line with the horse’s status as a food producing animal.

The Hill Pony Improvement Society of Wales covers the following individual Improvement Societies and common land areas.

  • The Black Mountain Pony Improvement Society covering the Black Mountain Common;
  • Blaenavon Pony Improvement Society covering The Blorenge;
  • The Brecon Beacons Pony Improvement Society covering the Brecon Beacons Common;
  • Cefn Bryn Pony Improvement Society covering the Cefn Bryn Common;
  • Cefn Edmwnt Pony Improvement Society covering the Buckland Manor Common;
  • Cenydd Gwyr Pony Improvement Society covering Cenydd Gwyr Common;
  • Pontlottyn Pony Improvement Society operating on the Gelligaer and Merthyr Common;
  • Twyn-y-Waun Pony Improvement Society operating on the Gelligaer and Merthyr Common;
  • Mountain Hare Pony Improvement Society operating on the Gelligaer and Merthyr Common;
  • Dowlais Pony Improvement Society operating on the Gelligaer and Merthyr Common;
  • Drum Pony Improvement Society covering Mynydd y Drum and Llwyn Madoc Hill;
  • Eppynt Pony Improvement Society covering Eppynt Common, Mynydd Eppynt and The Eppynt;
  • Gower Pony Improvement Society covering Rhossili Down;
  • Hergest Ridge Pony Improvement Society covering Hergest Ridge and Hanter Hill;
  • Llanafan & Llanwrthwl Pony Improvement Society covering Abergwesyn Hill, Drygarn Fawr, Penygenhill Common, Bryn Rhudd, Llwyn Madoc Hill, Llysdinam Hill, Llanwrthwl Common and Llanfihangel Brynpauban Common;
  • Llandefalle Pony Improvement Society covering Llandefalle Hill;
  • Llandeilo Graban & Rhulen Pony Improvement Society covering Llandeilo Hill;
  • Llangoed Pony Improvement Society covering Llangoed Common;
  • Llangorse Pony Improvement Society covering Mynydd Llangorse, Cefn Moel, Cathedine Coedcae and Pen Tir;
  • Llanrhidian Marsh Pony Improvement Society covering Llanrhidian Marsh (Whitford Burrows to Crofty point);
  • Llynfan (Gwynfe) Pony Improvement Society covering the Black Mountain;
  • Mynydd Trefil Ddu & Las Pony Improvement Society covering Trefil Ddu Common;
  • Penderyn Pony Improvement Society covering Manor Mawr Common;
  • Trefil Pony Improvement Society covering Trefil Las;
  • Troed Mynydd Pony Improvement Society covering Mynydd Troed Common; and
  • Vaynor Pony Improvement Society covering Ffrithwaun Common.