28 Jul 2011


Please help the British Horse Society to ‘tackle the yellow peril’ by completing their national survey to identify areas in the country where the poisonous plant Ragwort is Rife. 
Help the British Horse Society continue their fight to combat the toxic plant Ragwort by completing their second nationwide survey this week (11-17 July).

Click here to enter the survey

Every year animals eg: horses die painful and unnecessary deaths as a result of damage to their liver from consuming Ragwort. The danger that the plant poses is known worldwide. however the amount of ragwort in the Uk continues to rise.This suggests that the laws governing ragwort are not being enforced or people are not taking the risks involved seriously.
Last year the BHS launched a nationwide survey to draw up a true picture of the extent and location of the weed due to the increase in the amount of ragwort. The British Horse society believe that if evidence is acquired the battle to control Ragwort will be a much easier battle to fight and win.
Sue Burton from The Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex is extremely worried about how quickly people dismiss the idea of Ragwort being poisonous. Sue wants everyone to realise how dangerous ragwort really is. Sue described the effects of Ragwort poisoning as “chronic and cumulative”.
The British Horse Society believe that the results of the survey are important, but not enough. The British Horse Society believe that carrying out the survey on the same week annually will gain a trend in ragwort proliferation. They are hoping that this will help decrease the amount of ragwort in the Uk. The British Horse Society hope that this can also be used to encourage better enforcement of ragwort control.
The British Horse Society are once again appealing to all horse lovers to take time to help complete their “snapshot survey” during BHS Ragwort Awareness Week (11-17 July 2011).  They ask that if anyone spots ragwort during this period to spend just a couple of minutes filling in the form which will be available on the website during that specific week.
The British Horse Society were extremely pleased with last years survey. They described it as  being a great success and went on to say how it produced a selection of fascinating results. However The British Horse Society still need more data so they are appealing to anyone who cares about equine welfare to become involved in their two thousand and eleven survey. The survey only takes a couple of minutes to fill out but the information the British Horse Society obtained might just be what we need to make a substantial change. The British Horse Society has promised that all respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two Mark Todd Blouson jackets which will be provided by the Mark Todd collection.

Five important facts about ragwort:

  1. Ragwort is one of the most frequent causes of plant poisoning of livestock in Britain.
  2. Young animals  are more at risk than mature animals.
  3. Each plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds with a 70% germination rate.
  4. Ragwort is also harmful to humans.
  5. Overgrazed land provides ideal conditions for Ragwort growth.

What can you do if Ragwort is growing in your field?

The most effective way to get rid of ragwort is to burn the weeds taking all the relevant precautions. The best way to remove a small number of the plant is to pull the whole plant up including the roots. Due to ragwort being harmful to humans it is essential to wear gloves and cover arms and legs when handling it, before burning it.
The easiest way to tackle a wide spread infection is to spray the paddocks. However you have to rest the field for a recommended period of time after treatment. 
Help the BHS to detect the location of Ragwort by clicking here.

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