Currently Pit Ponies are not fully protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 as the 1956 Order was not repealed. This leave Pit Ponies unfairly left out of the full protection of the Act.
Lots more information available at www.visitpitponies.co.uk/petition
Pit Ponies still left dangling over the abyss?
Despite all the consultation & talking, Pit Ponies have been left out of the protection of the new Animal Welfare Act. Although they are used to such treatment it seems wrong that whilst other animal will enjoy the full protection of the new Animal Welfare Act. Working Pit Ponies are left with a piece of legislation dating from 1956 as their primary protection. Due to the fact that the “Coal and other mines (Horses) regulations 1956” has not been repealed, legally it will supersede the new Act and leave it still quite legal for Pit Ponies to be used again in mines as they have been used traditionally in Wales and other parts of the UK for many generations. Wales holds the unenviable position of being the last part of the UK to use Pit Ponies. Working Pit Ponies Gremlin & Robbie (pictured right) were the last to work in Wales. When they retired from Pantygasseg Colliery in Gwent in May 1999 bringing to a close the use of Pit Ponies underground in the Principality. However when Pant-y-Gasseg colliery closed the price of coal was £25/ton. Some mines owners have kept their working ponies, hoping to one day return to production. They see the coal underground as money in their Bank, waiting to be withdrawn. What of the Pit Ponies?? At the Pit Pony Sanctuary in Pontypridd we just hope that the rising wholesale price of coal (currently £150/ton+) does not entice some of the traditional Pony Powered small drift mines back to business before something is done to protect them. Do we really have to see Pit Ponies working again before something gets done? We sent a detailed submission to DEFRA during the consultation process and made sure they were aware of the short comings of the said 1956 Regulations and the problems we had observed around the collieries in the 1990’s. Initially The Home Office, DEFRA and others said Pit Ponies would be protected. Now they finally admit they will not. They now say they did this quite “deliberately to ensure that the Act did not inadvertently ban certain practices involving animals” It is difficult to understand why DEFRA would want to preserve the working Pit Pony. During the formation of the new Act DEFRA changed and repealed a long list of legislation that they considered would interfere with the new Act. Why they left Pit Ponies so vulnerable beggars belief.
Now our tiny little Charity is faced with trying to get some better protection. We contacted our local MP Dr Kim Howells who has a long historical association with miners, expecting him to have empathy with Pit Ponies. However he said “he is not prepared to help and feels it is unimportant”. We are contacting other Parliamentarians’ from both Houses to try to find a Westminster Champion for the Pit ponies.
In Wales we have our own government and have asked them to help.
We would welcome any help, support and advice on this matter.