by Adrian Philpot
Yesterday whilst cycling in the New Forest, which I do regularly I came across a group of people socialising with four donkeys grazing along the roadside. I stopped and gave the donkeys some chopped carrots.
A local pulled up and remonstrated that such behaviour was killing them. Utter rubbish!
Carrots don't kill ponies or donkeys. Loving them doesn't kill them, motorised vehicles kill them. As your statistic show, it's not the visitors killing them, it's the locals.
Some roads are less than three metres wide - with a 40mph limit! Seriously!!
As your statistics show, most animals are killed at night by the local population.
They are the ones who need to be educated.
Are the animals on the road at night looking for visitors to feed them? No. They are on the road at night, especially in winter because that's the warmest place. The sun heats up the road during the day so it's the warmest, driest spot.
If you want to save the animals from being killed remember the saying "Speed Kills"!
The speed limit of 40mph has to be reduced to 25mph in the areas occupied by the animals with a £1,000 fine for exceeding the limit followed with a further £1,000 fine if you injure/kill an animal. The animals have right of way by law so selfish locals in their land rovers and fast cars need to realise that and stop blaming the visitors from the tragedies.
As for the Forestry commission, their advice is crap . Do something that matters, change the speed limit!
Thanks for your comments. I agree with you re. locals speeding and that the speed limit should be lowered.
I'd like to put my feelings over and give my reasons too.
It is extremely annoying that some locals don't respect this unique environment which only exists due to the animals who roam it. Also sadly the forest is used as rat runs from the surrounding areas, so another reason for stronger limits.
However, as Commoners we discourage visitors from petting or feeding any animal, especially near the roads.
Why do we do this? The animals virtually from birth recognise that a car pulling up on a verge may contain a "treat". This can lead to the following:
Animals grazing happily and safely a distance from a road will make their way to a verge where a car is parked. Therefore putting themselves in danger from a road accident.
I've been involved where a car has pulled over with animals being fed, causing a slow down of traffic trying to get through. A white van wouldn't slow and overtook everyone and just missed one of the animals being fed who had stepped out further into the road.
If you feed them the most dominant will try to get the biggest treat and kicking and biting can then break out. This can injure the animal and the treat giver.
If they begin to get aggressive over treats they can ultimately be taken off the forest as they become too aggressive - simply by becoming dominant through feeding.
It's really tempting to give them a titbit but they get everything they need from the forest - if they're not getting it the owner must take them off!
I don't want anyone to give my animals food as the no feeding policy offers them safety. I have experienced ponies being given plastic wrapped sandwiches, polo mints and other harmful foods.
I hope this gives a fair insight into how we try to keep our animals safe - believe me it's a daily struggle.
Thanks for your support for keeping our animals safe on the roads.
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