In issue number 209 of Your Horse magazine in 2002 they published a cut out letter for people to send to their MPs. It seems to have been full of incorrect information. Their statements are in italics below followed by the correct information.

"500 horses died from liver damage due to ragwort poisoning in 2001, 1000 deaths are predicted in 2002."

This has no apparent basis in fact at all. There is no reason at all to assume that even a few hundred horses die a year. It seems ridiculous to assume that a doubling would occur. Especially so since the official government data show a decline in ragwort not an increase. This is a common story, perhaps as a result of being printed in magazines like this. When similar claims were repeated, by people selling ragwort related products, this led to advertisements being stopped after action by the Advertising Standards Authority.

"The toxin in ragwort is poisonous to cattle and sheep as well as horses, so humans may be unwittingly ingesting the toxin."

There is no risk to humans from eating meat from animals which have eaten ragwort because the toxins, which are actually breakdown products are present in only minute amounts which are bound up chemically as they express their toxicity. In effect, the actual act of being toxic destroys them. Even if they were to be released from this binding process there are so many other non-toxic ways in which they can be bound up to other elements in the body that the effect is negligible. For technical details see Ragwort - Does it make meat toxic? No it does not!

"Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part III and the Town and Country Planning Act Section 215 , landlords (sic) are legally obliged to remove ragwort from their land."

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part III deals with a council's power to deal with land contaminated by pollution. It does not actually say anything about weeds or ragwort. It does not make ragwort removal obligatory. There is a briefing here on the Town and Country Planning Act Section 215.This act again doesn't make ragwort removal obligatory. It says nothing about ragwort. It is a council's power to make LANDOWNERS ( not landlords who rent out land or property) tidy up unkempt land.

For information on the low number of horse deaths see Ragwort horse deaths

For the unnecessary panic about dogs see Ragwort and Dogs

Ragwort Home

Ragwort Myths

Ragwort dispersal

Ragwort Horse deaths

Ragwort law

Ragwort Control

Advertising Standards Authority



This website contains a number of sections. You may return to the index of any of the sections that a given page belongs to by clicking on the section link.

Information timeline.

Ragwort Myths