Dartmoor Pony Meat Goes on Sale to Conserve Breed

A farmer is making sausages out of ponies to help keep the breed alive
Dartmoor ponies

Wikimedia/Alistair Young

A farmer has started selling Dartmoor pony meat as sausages in an attempt to keep the breed alive.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but when meat made from Dartmoor ponies started showing up at farmers markets in Britain recently, it was actually part of an effort to keep the breed alive.

The Dartmoor pony is a small, hardy breed of horses from southwestern England. In the 1930s there were more than 25,000, but now numbers are estimated to be closer to 800 of them grazing on the moor. Now, according to The Daily Mail, Dartmoor farmer Charlotte Faulkner has started selling some of her ponies as sausages in an attempt to make raising and caring for the breed more profitable, so that people will continue to do so.  

Faulkner says every year hundreds of old ponies that can’t find homes are culled to make room on the moor for younger ponies, and the old ponies’ meat usually winds up being sent to zoos or abroad to France, where it is reportedly a delicacy.

The ponies can be used for riding horses, but are not very much in demand. Faulkner says her farm is full of horses that she has been unable to find homes for.

So now she’s taken to selling the horses as sausages, and the meat has reportedly appeared for sale at a farmers market in Devon, a local restaurant, and online.

Since the meat has gone on sale, Faulkner says she’s received countless abusive phone calls and angry messages from horse lovers who don’t want to see the ponies on the menu, but she says none of those people particularly want to adopt any of the surplus ponies either.

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“If I thought there was another solution I would have tried it,” she said.