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29 July – 6 August 2000

Ragwort in flower
Once again the British Horse Society is holding a “Root Out Ragwort Week” in order to raise awareness of the increasing problem of this killer weed. All over the country roadside verges, railway embankments and fields are ablaze with the bright yellow flower. The recent warm weather has meant that it is flowering earlier than usual. 

Ragwort is poisonous to horses and livestock, and even small amounts can build up in the system leading to a painful and horrible death. Ragwort is classed as an injurious weed under the 1959 Weeds Act and it is an offence to allow it to spread. Each plant can produce 150,000 seeds which carry for miles, and can remain dormant for up to 20 years.

Everyone must take responsibility for clearing ragwort from their land – whether it be a back yard, a motorway embankment or a 5000 acre estate. It cannot be tackled piecemeal. It only takes one irresponsible owner to allow ragwort to seed for it to reinfest a wide area.

Anyone who sees ragwort is encouraged to report it to the Ministry of Agriculture who has the power to serve clearance notices. However they are often reluctant to act. If the ragwort is on roadside verges then it should be reported to the local council, on motorways to the Highways Agencies, and on railway embankments, to Railtrack (0345 114141).

 The British Horse Society Campaign is supported by the National Equine Welfare Council, The Country Landowners Association, the Animal Health Trust, the RSPCA and The Donkey Sanctuary. Ragwort
Ragwort at rosette stage 1

For a leaflet on ragwort and details on how to get rid of it, send a sae to

The British Horse Society, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ

Telephone 08701 202244

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