Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundland Pony debate 'tangly,' minister says

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley says the debate over the protection of the Newfoundland Pony is a polarizing one.
The Newfoundland Pony Society is recommending that the provincial government not transfer control of the animals to federal legislation. (CBC)

The provincial minister of natural resources says the debate over the protection of the Newfoundland Pony has become a polarizing one. 

This week, the Newfoundland Pony Society came out against a working committee's proposal that would give Ottawa responsibility for protecting the animals.  

The Newfoundland Pony, brought back from virtual extinction, is currently protected provincially as a special breed under heritage protection. 

Following last week's meeting, the society said that federal legislation could lead to interbreeding and change the distinct breed.

Derrick Dalley admits a lot of the pressure to shift responsibility to Ottawa is coming from outside the province.

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley.
"There's quite a bit of debate and polarizing views," said Dalley. 

Dalley said his department is trying to facilitate that debate.

"It's been very tangly and complicated, and we try to work with both sides to find common ground," he said. 

"My understanding is that the core working group has a tremendous number of people that are involved, pony owners outside the province, particularly in Ontario. So, obviously they have a strong position and strong views in where they'd like this to go. I guess that's creating some of the opposition on what direction they'd like this to go in."

The final decision on whether to transfer control of the Newfoundland Pony to the federal government rests with the Newfoundland and Labrador government.