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Letter: Ear’s a good idea to prevent New Forest animal deaths

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SIR – When I moved into the area six years ago, I was shocked at the number of deaths/injuries suffered by the Forest ponies/donkeys on a weekly basis.

Speeding cars was the favourite accusation, but through my own Freedom of Information investigations with both the local authority and the verderers, there is no record kept that points that finger at motorists to substantiate the accusation. One can only guess.

Inattentiveness by drivers and lack of awareness was another accusation, and one that is most likely, in my view. There are many conditions that motorists are subjected to on the Forest roads and one of them is lack of visibility of the animal, particularly after dark.

Sadly an all-too common sight on New Forest roads
Sadly an all-too common sight on New Forest roads

To this end I have been promoting reflective ear tags as a step up from reflective collars.

In the two years I have been in contact with the verderers, I have been stonewalled all the way. I even designed a simple and cheap experiment that could be performed at the roadside that did not even involve live animals.

No one was prepared to even try to get the law modified (Animal Welfare Act) to set the ball rolling should my experiment prove successful.

The final statement I had from the verderers was that they would continue to evaluate ideas to reduce casualties. This flies in the face of the speed camera debacle, doesn’t it? No joined-up thinking here.

If animal deaths are of such little concern, getting average speed cameras installed on Roger Penny Way is just a pipe dream, as I have already predicted. Naturally, I hope I am wrong.

John Walsh,
Address supplied

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