I disagree, Mr Mansfield, ragwort must be pulled up – it is poisonous to equines, green or dried

In reply to Mr B Mansfield, who says not to pull up ragwort.

I disagree. Ragwort is poisonous to horses/livestock, green or dried. When eaten by equines it damages the liver and the toxic effect can build up from eating small amounts over a period of time – possibly years.

With equine ragwort poisoning the animal would stop eating, then stomach pains, loses weight, then have no energy, sun burns the skin, co-ordination goes, eventually blindness, struggles to breathe, then death occurs.

Ragwort poisoning is a silent killer as in most cases it is not diagnosed until the animal dies and the liver dissected in a post-mortem examination (if one should be done).

Surely you’re not saying Blacks Veterinary Dictionary is wrong?

A responsible owner who values their stock will not allow ragwort on any land where they have livestock grazing.

Ragwort may be a native British plant and the cinnabar moth may prefer that plant, but by also allowing that plant to grow freely could consequently endanger livestock to a slow suffering death of liver failure.

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Common ragwort thrives on overgrazed, bare land and is worth noting that humans who handle that plant yearly (without gloves), could have a toxic build-up effect that can cause liver problems if ingested.

Let’s also bear in mind that children like to pick pretty yellow flowers and put their fingers in their mouths.

The ponies on Wicken Fen (Konik) are not native to Britain. They are Polish semi-feral ponies that were bred on a stud from domesticated and feral ponies that had some characteristics and traits of the extinct Tarpan.

Although these ponies at Wicken may have limited handling (semi-feral) they are fenced in on parts of the reserve with no natural predators.

Human contact and intervention would have to take place for their welfare and wellbeing, i.e worming, injections, castrations, rounded up to be sold or slaughtered, moved to start up other programme breeding herds and birth control. Otherwise interbreeding would take place and herds would get out of control.

So in zoological terms these ponies are kept, studied, bred and exhibited to the public in large enclosures.

There is a big difference between wild, domesticated and feral. Which now brings me to the Takhi/Przewalki, commonly known as the Mongolian horse, which is the only true wild horse left.

It has 66 chromosomes, two more than the domestic and Konik horse that have 64.




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