ACTION is being taken in the New Forest to reduce the spread of an equine illness that can prove fatal.

An auction of ponies at the Beaulieu Road sales yard was cancelled following an outbreak of strangles.

Following reports of cases near Ashurst and Lyndhurst, gated animal underpasses beneath the A337 have been shut.

Walkers using them are being urged to make sure they close the gates behind them.

Meanwhile, a small number of ponies and cows have died from acorn poisoning.

Pigs are turned out in the Forest each year to hoover up fallen acorns, which can prove fatal to other types of animals.

But some of the acorns have been eaten by ponies and cattle.

However, a recent welfare tour of the New Forest found that most of the animals graze the landscape were in good condition.

Agisters tour the Forest with representatives from the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups.

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