Eating Dartmoor Pony meat will not save them says the Mare & Foal Sanctuary as "pretending you are helping ponies by killing them is just nonsense" .

The charity has urged people not to buy or the pony meat which appeared on the market earlier this year and refutes claims that eating the meat could save the breed.

Simon Avery, managing director of the charity, said: “It’s disappointing to see Dartmoor Pony meat being promoted as a healthy and sustainable solution to over-breeding. We think some of the things being said about its benefits need looking at more closely.

“We would appeal to people not to buy it. They may think they are helping to safeguard ponies for the future but they may actually be making a complex problem even worse.

He recommends better breeding controls to prevent the ponies being slaughtered.

He said: “We really cannot understand why people believe that by eating them they are saving them. It makes no sense. It’s been proven that sensible herd management on Dartmoor using methods such as vasectomising, gelding or totally removing the colts and stallions will control over-breeding. It’s wrong that some people are treating it like an unsolvable problem – it’s not.

“It is our belief that the meat is being sold purely to increase profit – not to safeguard the Dartmoor Hill Ponies. Even if somebody has no ethical objection to eating Dartmoor Pony meat, they should challenge some of the things being told to them about its benefits to the ponies themselves.”