UK Farmers Paint Their Horses to Be Reflective and Maybe We Should Too

To stop their animals from being hit by speeding motorists in the middle of the night, UK horse lovers are breaking out the reflective paint. 

by Sam Blum
Getty Images

Ostensibly, ponies should not double as traffic reflectors, but all is not as it should be. After late night traffic incidents in a rural UK town killed 74 animals and endangered as many humans, local farmers broke out the reflective paint and, well, their strange plan seems to be working.

Owners of a private farm in Dartmoor have been painting their ponies with vibrant streaks of yellow and blue since September, as part of a trial period to deem the practice worthy of wider use. The farmers hope they can curtail negligent motorists from careening past their farm at dangerous speeds.

Dartmoor is in the very southwest of England.

Speaking with the BBC, Karla McKechnie, livestock protection officer for the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society, said: “We’ll now monitor how long it remains on the animals, and the company behind the paint is trying to see whether it can create an even brighter and more durable version.”

“In the coming months we might try the reflective paint on privately-owned cattle too,” she added.

Simply stroking a brush smeared with neon paint on an animal’s hide seems like a simplistic fix, but it might prove itself effective, especially for the UK cattle industry, which has nearly 10,000 dairy farms and a total of 1.84 million cows sprawling across a very small country.

Will the trend make it across the pond? One hopes. The commercials would be amazing.

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