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Newfoundland Pony Society extends free DNA testing program

Both of these Newfoundland ponies are owned by Dr. Jessica Boyd.
Both of these Newfoundland ponies are owned by Dr. Jessica Boyd. - Contributed
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The Newfoundland Pony Society says it is extending its free DNA testing program in 2019 as part of a campaign to ensure that all eligible Newfoundland ponies are registered in the official Newfoundland Pony Registry.

A news release states the free testing will be available to the first 50 applications for known or suspected full-breed Newfoundland ponies to be tested.

Applicants must agree to have their pony registered if it is proven to be eligible.

The society has recently reached Number 860 in the pony registry.

“We are very pleased with the recent success in registering ponies, but we know there are many more out there that aren’t registered,” said Jack Harris, president of the Newfoundland Pony Society.

“Registration is vital to preservation of the breed and we need the public’s help in identifying ponies and encouraging registration.”

Anyone who owns a Newfoundland pony (or suspected Newfoundland pony) is encouraged to apply for a grant. The free DNA testing is paid for in part by the membership fees of the Newfoundland Pony Society.

The DNA testing program is used to identify full-breed Newfoundland ponies, as it can link the parentage to an existing registered pony.

Many ponies have changed owners or have been moved over the years, so the work of identifying them is ongoing.

Under the Provincial Heritage Animal Act, the Newfoundland Pony Society has a mandate to preserve, protect and promote the Newfoundland pony, the province’s only heritage animal, and to maintain a registry of Newfoundland ponies. Registering the ponies gives them protection as a heritage animal and provides a record of the pony for potential breeding.

Program information and DNA application forms are available on the society’s website at https://newfoundlandpony.com.

The Newfoundland pony is listed as critically endangered by Rare Breeds Canada, the Livestock Conservancy, and the Equus Survival Trust. Newfoundland ponies have been part of family life in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador for many generations.

The Newfoundland Pony Society was founded in 1979 and was incorporated in 1981 as a registered charity.

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