Ashcott horse knackery gets approval, despite significant opposition

Posted on the 13th January 2017

A controversial plan to expand a horse knackery business in Ashcott, Bridgwater was approved by Sedgemoor District Council’s Development Committee on 11 January.

The retrospective application – which will expand the area of an existing building used as a knackery – received numerous objections, including from Animal Aid, the local parish council, Sedgemoor Ramblers, Somerset Walking Club, People4Ponies and South West Equine Protection.

The applicant has stated that horses and ponies – including Dartmoor ponies – are killed using a captive bolt or a .38 bullet gun and that meat from the horses will be sold to local zoos.

However, campaigners are clear that expanding the slaughterhouse does not deal with the root of the problem which is the unregulated breeding of ponies on Dartmoor by some owners.

Some have objected on animal welfare grounds, and others have been concerned that the building, which already blocks a footpath, has been granted permission for a change of use.

The building was first erected across the footpath in 2004. The current application means that the footpath will have to be diverted in order to allow walkers to use the area, compounding the council’s initial error in granting permission for the building in 2004.


Says Animal Aid Campaign Manager, Fiona Pereira:

The expansion of the knackery is bad news for those living locally as well as for the horses who are to be killed there. It is likely that there will be an increase in traffic to the building (business hours include Saturdays); that walkers (and their dogs) will be shocked by the sights and sounds – including the sound of a gun – of horses going to slaughter; and, of course, there is the terrible toll on the horses themselves. The real issue is the unchecked breeding of ponies and other equines by those who profit from their sale, which includes the sale of horses to be slaughtered for meat for local zoos.’


Says Faye Stacey, People4Ponies:

This abattoir is not an essential service needed for Dartmoor and should not have been proposed or recommended as such. Previous planning attempts for a slaughterhouse for ponies had already been rejected. Research has continually shown that the vast majority of pony owners want stallions to be removed from Dartmoor to prevent the annual mass over-breeding and culling of hundreds of ponies.

Sedgemoor Council, in making this decision, supports a minority who refuse to remove stallions from the moor, intent instead on pursuing an abattoir for ponies in a drive to promote them for human and animal consumption. This effectively sabotages the whole pony population because responsible owners (who had removed or vasectomised stallions to prevent mares from getting pregnant) are forced to breed foals when they have tried their best to avoid breeding unwanted animals. It is not necessary for over-breeding to happen in order for conservation grazing of Dartmoor to take place.


Notes for Editors:

For further information, contact Fiona Pereira on 01732 364546 ext 228.

(The photo used on this page is from a previous Animal Aid investigation, and is not from the knackery in question.)

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