British Group Calling for Pulling Parties to Remove Toxic Weed

The British Horse Society (BHS) has placed a call for volunteers to organize ragwort-pulling parties during its Ragwort Awareness Week to remove the deadly weed where it is growing on, and near to, grazing land. The second BHS Ragwort Awareness Week of 2007 takes place from Sept. 17 to 23.

"We have been contacted by huge numbers of people who are concerned about the presence of ragwort near horses," said Lee Hackett, BHS welfare senior executive. "This seems to have been a particularly bad year for the weed."

Both Ragfork and Robinsons Country Leisure have once again supported the event.

Robinsons Country Leisure is providing £300 of vouchers to be split between three winning teams, with a first prize of £150, second prize of £100 and a third prize of £50.

To enter the competition, teams are asked to e-mail or send in a brief report of their ragwort pulling party by Monday, Oct. 15 2007, including a before, after, and team photograph.

Ragfork has donated more than 40 Ragforks to the cause. All Ragforks have been allocated to teams and will make the arduous task of removing ragwort less of a chore.

"Each ragwort plant will produce many thousands of seeds that are easily dispersed by the wind so it's not too late to get involved and help keep the amount of ragwort down for next year," Hackett said.

The BHS Welfare Department can provide advice, posters, and flyers to advertise a pulling party as well as BHS advisory literature on the dangers of ragwort, and Defra codes of practice on how to prevent the spread of common ragwort, and disposal options.

The BHS advised pullers to wear thick gloves when handling ragwort, and protect their skin from contact with the weed. It is also sensible to wear a facemask. They also requested that pullers obtain permission from the owner of the land before embarking on any ragwort eradication efforts.

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