Monday, 11 July 2011

Ragwort Awareness Week British Horse Society forum hysteria and crime

The British Horse Society organises a Ragwort Awareness Week forum on Facebook that is full of nonsense, misinformation, hysteria and even admissions of criminal activity.

First of all the British Horse Society make a claim that ragwort is increasing. In in fact the official figures suggest that if anything the opposite is happening.

Then we get a series of misunderstandings and myths.

Sorry, I consider Weedkiller (Blaster) the only possible nemesis for Oxford Rag weed (sic)(why does Oxford Botanic garden not pick up the tab for it's release....countries are appologising (sic) for wars 200 years ago, why not this?

Oxford Ragwort is a different plant. A plant of waste ground and cracks that doesn't grow in pastures. Common Ragwort is a native plant.

What gets me is that this plant is a notifiable plant and carries a hefty fine if found on your land, yet the biggest culprets (sic) are the can they get away with it

There is no such thing as a "notifiable plant" and it having ragwort on your land is legal. There is no hefty fine if it is found on your land. You may be ordered, in extreme circumstances to control it, but just having it on your land is not a crime in any way.

It is significant that the British Horse Society recently had one of their leaflets stopped by the Advertising Standards Authority for saying incorrect things about the law, and in spite the coverage in the national press and subsequently being told publicly that it is wrong, they STILL have the incorrect information on one of their websites.

This is more or less the point of the group I believe - to encourage people to proactively pull ragwort, tell other horse owners who may be ignorant of it, and lobby their council to control it - as they are legally obliged to remove it from their land.
Councils are not legally obliged to control ragwort or to remove it from their land.

These comments are however much more serious as they show that people may be engaged in criminal breaches of wildlife law.
Pull it up whenever i see it!
As such I have a personal vendetta against ragwort and every yard I have ever worked on has been a ragwort-free zone - I kill it wherever I see it, even in people's gardens - every one I uproot is one less set of seeds to spread, I HATE it, and am very good at spotting it even in just "rosette" stage (before it gets flowers) I cannot walk past a ragwort plant and leave it standing - it has to die.
As I don't know where it is I'll attend in principle, I'm always ripping it up around the village, hate it.

The wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states.

if any person—.
(a)intentionally picks, uproots or destroys any wild plant included in Schedule 8; or.
(b)not being an authorised person, intentionally uproots any wild plant not included in that Schedule,.
he shall be guilty of an offence.

If you are not the landowner or a similarly authorised person you cannot legally go around uprooting plants. There are many examples where people have pulled up the wrong plant too.

People tend to follow by example. Other people may be encouraged to follow suit and break the law if they see this stuff. It is acceptable for a Registered Charity to allow such material to be disseminated on a facebook forum that it is running?

There is more information here on this aspect of Ragwort Awareness Week
Ragwort Hysteria latest entries

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