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An animal conservation group says Dartmoor ponies should be eaten in a bid to save their species.
The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association (DHPA) says creating a market for their meat may be the only way to save them.
Founder of the DHPA, Charlotte Faulkner, believes herders will only continue to keep the animals if there is a "sustainable market" for them.
According to the Daily Telegraph, in a letter proposing the idea sent to South West Equine Protection (SWEP), she said: "I am writing to ask whether SWEP would consider giving measured support to this understandably upsetting subject, which as pony lovers we find so hard to accept.
"It has taken years of considering reports and listening to the outcome of meetings to recognise and reluctantly accept that Dartmoor pony herders will only carry on keeping their herds if they have a sustainable market for them. We are in real danger of ponies disappearing from Dartmoor altogether."
Princess Anne is a well-known supporter of the idea, suggesting it might encourage owners to take better care of their ponies.
The SWEP, however, did not seem to support the idea put forward in the DHPA's letter.
The charity's welfare officer Becky Treeby said: "It would be very upsetting to look at foals which in six months time could be in someone's burger."
The RSCPA also raised concerns about the animals being slaughtered humanely.
According to the Independent, a spokesman for the charity said: "The Society's primary concern for all animals killed for meat is that they are cared for, handled, transported and slaughtered in a way which safeguards their welfare at all times.
We believe all animals for meat should be slaughtered as near to the place they have lived as possible.
"Many horses are transported live to the continent where their ultimate fate is unknown, but many may well be slaughtered. Once there, it's difficult to monitor whether EU transportation legislation is met and if the animals are slaughtered humanely."
Dartmoor ponies keep the gorse under control on the 368 square mile national park in Devon.
There are around 800 ponies in Dartmoor national park today. The Exmoor Pony Society also back the idea of horse meat after seeing a growing number of unwanted ponies being abandoned on the moor.
Do you back the idea of eating horse meat? Leave your thoughts below.
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