Friday, 30 August 2013

Ragwort fungus nonsense

A really fantastic case of nonsense appeared recently in the Penarth Times.

A PENARTH resident has labelled the land near Sully Moors Road a “field of death” and raised concerns after several horses started grazing on the land.
The resident, who asked not to be named, has warned about the dangers of the horses escaping, from being poisoned by the fungus ragwort and the risk of them being stranded on higher ground if the land becomes flooded in the winter.
So ragwort is a fungus now is it? No it jolly well isn't. It is a flowering plant. This is another case of the totally inept quality of journalism that fuels the hysteria.

There is probably no risk from ragwort since we know very clearly from evolutionary biology that horses have evolved to avoid the fresh plant. So unless it is in hay or the animal is starving there is no problem but it doesn't stop the panic about the yellow peril fungus triffid :-)

Later on of course we find there is no cause for concern.

Christina Roberts-Kinsey, Principal Trading Standards Officer for the Vale Council, said: “Trading Standards take all complaints and reports of animal welfare seriously and investigate to the fullest extent. We are in receipt of a complaint regarding the welfare and identification of the current herd of horses grazing at Sully Moors Road.
“In response to the complaint a joint inspection was undertaken by an animal health officer and a specialist equine veterinary surgeon. This inspection identified there are currently no welfare issues with the horses. There is, however, a small amount of ragwort which has been addressed with the owner and a schedule of works is currently in place to remove the weed.”

There is an interesting comment on facebook where someone who clearly knows the field says that the yellow flowers were actually buttercups. Who knows? But it really wouldn't be the first time the two have been confused.

Ragwort Hysteria latest entries

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