Shadow Of The Wall

Go to content

Interview - Julian Hosking

Expert Opinions > Expert Interviews and Questions



Proposed questions for Julian Hosking for a recorded interview as part of the Report by David Anthony Murray on the status of extensively grazing Fell ponies in England.

Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee

  • Could you explain what the fundamental purpose is of the Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee?
  • How would you describe your own role on that committee?
  • Does the Fell pony come within the committee’s brief?
  • Recent, 2011, European Commission proposals on agricultural biodiversity have implications for all native pony breeds?
  • How do the 2011 parliamentary recommended actions affect the Fell pony, in your opinion?
  • Extensively grazing ponies within the agricultural system of England are usually referred to as semi-feral Fell ponies. Does your committee recognise the term ‘semi-feral’ as applied to native breed ponies?
  • Extensively grazing Fell ponies are often grazing within England’s recognised agricultural system. To what extent is it important to recognise these ponies as a distinct group of Fell ponies?
  • Can we, or should we, within the European Commission’s proposals, distinguish between semi-feral and other Fell ponies?
  • European proposals refer to the term ‘agricultural biodiversity’. Could the Fell pony be considered to be biodiversity? Why or why not?
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also published, in 2011, its strategy for wildlife and ecosystems in England. This makes reference to ‘native breeds of farm animals associated with traditional land management required to conserve important habitats’. Can the Fell pony be classified as such a traditional breed?
  • A priority of the strategy is to ensure that ‘agricultural’ genetic diversity (including farmed animals) is conserved and enhanced. Does this also apply to the Fell pony? Why / Why not?
  • Can the Fell pony be considered to be biological diversity? Why?
  • The English strategy aims to maintain the genetic diversity of farmed and domesticated animals. How can this be best achieved in the case of the extensively grazing Fell pony?
  • If the Fell pony can be recognised as biological diversity, how could or should this affect its status nationally?
  • Is it true to say that native ponies such as the Fell pony have been previously overlooked when incentives for integrated and optimally managed farming for wildlife conservation has been provided by government?
  • What incentives might be provided in future to assist farmer-breeders in maintaining the genetic diversity of the breed?
  • Should any incentives be offered to breeders of extensively grazing Fell ponies within Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Schemes and on SSSI’s? Why/ Why not?
  • Should incentives be offered to breeders who are responsible for grazing Fell ponies extensively in Wales and Scotland, that is, outside of England?
  • What incentives might be provided in recognition of the pony’s potential contribution to maintaining and enhancing biological diversity through its grazing behaviour?
  • Are there any beneficial effects of conserving Fell ponies in their in situ habitats within northern England? Couldn’t in vitro (ex situ) samples, stored over a prolonged period, be made available for breeding as necessary?
  • Some young Fell pomies have recently been sold for extremely low prices. How important is it to address the economic implications of breeding extensively grazing Fell ponies to ensure that breeders have an incentive to breed..
  • Is climate change likely to have any role in persuading the British government to protect remaining Fell pony breed lines?
  • What should be done at this stage to help protect herds from genetic loss?
  • What should be done to protect herds in their native, traditional habitats where they are extremely adapted and adaptable?
  • What role does the Fell pony breed society have in ensuring that further genetic erosion of extensively grazing Fell pony herds is halted?
  • What systematic approach should be adopted by the FPS to ensure that learned grazing characteristics, developed through hefting of breed lines over many decades or centuries are not further lost?
  • How important is future empirical research on Fell pony genetic characteristics to the survivability and status of the Fell pony?
  • Will Fell pony breeders be able to gain any advantages from government in future in view of national and international biodiversity proposals?

Back to content | Back to main menu