Submitted by Steve on 12:44, 3rd Aug, 2016 | 0

The GSPCA have been made aware of a number of concerns from the public regarding livestock that are on fields with or near a plant called ragwort which can cause them harm.

Recently David Chamberlain States Veterinary Officer has released some advice and we wanted to share this with you.

David Chamberlain States Veterinary Officer "Horses are grass grazing animals and preferentially eat grass."

"If little grass is available then they may start to eat other plants including noxious weeds such as ragwort."

"Ragwort contains the toxic compounds pyrrolizidine alkaloids to which horses are particularly susceptible, although other grazing animals are also at risk."

"Ragwort plants have a bitter taste and horses do not usually consume it."

"However as the plant dries its taste become less unpleasant."

"Ingestion of ragwort can cause liver damage and if consumed over an extended period of time it can cause liver failure in horses."

"Horse owners are therefore advised to control ragwort in fields where their horses graze particularly if there is little grass available."

"If you control ragwort by pulling it up be sure to remove it from the paddocks to avoid the horse eating it once it has dried."

"The Noxious Weeds (Guernsey) Law, 1952 states that an occupier of land must not allow noxious weeds that are in flower or seed to grow on that land."

"The Plant Health Inspectors who apply the law rely on the public to provide them with an accurate location so that they can inspect the site of an alleged offence and determine how serious the situation is."

"The Inspectors are particularly keen to control ragwort where it has become established and it appears in large numbers."

"The British Horse Society does not advocate blanket removal of all ragwort."

"The plant plays a significant role in biodiversity, providing a habitat and food for many types of insect, plus pollen for bees."

"Ragwort has an important place in the Island ecosystem in areas away from livestock grazing or forage production land, and should only be removed from high-risk areas."

To see the British Horse Society page on ragwort please go to -

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