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Michael Gove’s visit to Exmoor

The Exmoor Pony Society was very encouraged in the interest shown about Exmoor, including specifically its iconic Exmoor Ponies, during the recent visit to the moor by Michael Gove, Defra’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Exmoor ponies are a RBST Category 2 Endangered Rare Breed with only some 800 on Exmoor in addition to small breeding groups away from Exmoor. The herds of ponies on Exmoor are essential both to the maintenance of their moorland habitat and to the survival of an ancient breed. The Exmoor Pony Society recognise this iconic status is supported with passion and that there may be times that differences occur between those who support this breed.

With the upcoming UK Equine Identification and Zootechnical legislation the Exmoor Pony Society recognises that Defra recognised breed societies, including those who issue Equine Passports, must operate efficiently and with fairness to all. Audits, if required, are a key component upcoming Zootechnical legislation. In a constructive and open manner, the Exmoor Pony Society has  therefore offered itself, via  a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to test this new audit system of our registration procedures to ensure they are of a satisfactory standard and there is no discrimination for the benefit and assurance of the Society, other breeding organisations and Defra, and of course the Exmoor ponies.