11 APRIL 1931, Page 20

PIT PONIES [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] do not

know why Mr. Gee should appeal for " the ordinary rules of controversy and evidence." There is nothing extraordinary about the statement of the facts relating to pit ponies ; they are indisputable. I notice

that Mr. Gee does not attempt to deny my figures, viz., that something like ten thousand pit ponies were injured

or killed every year from 1921 to 1925 inclusive, and that, at this moment, there is only one mines' horse inspector to every ten thousand ponies. During the five years ended 1925, the total number of ponies killed in mines was 13,848, and in the same period a total of 37,672 were injured, according to the official returns. It is because of these bare facts that I venture to reaffirm that " life to the pit pony is a series of brutal despotic events."

Will Mr. Gee come out into the open and say that he approves of the rate of mortality or injury of pit ponies, or of the insufficient inspection that- exists, or of the fact that there are no adequate statutory regulations governing shifts, Ire/ If he does not choose to do so, the case for reform, or, what is better, for the abolition of pit ponies, must be °Mina to all thinking and humane people.

If Mr. Gee considers that my quotations have been inis. leading, the official Mines Reports are open to inspection by your readers, and they can form their own opinion on the merits of the case. I do not know who Mr. Stanley Bishop is, or how far his inspection was " independent," as Mr. Gee asserts. But his remark that the pit horse is " infinitely better cared for than the ordinary horse of a similar class on the surface," if it means anything, appears to be an argument for putting all ordinary horses " of a similar class " below ground ! It would be interesting to know what led Mr. Bishop (or the Daily Express) to make this investigation, or if he denies the appalling figures men• tioned above.

If the conditions of pit ponies are as admirable as Mr. Gee or Mr. Bishop would have us believe, what possible objection can there be to the enforcement of adequate and efficient inspection ?—I am, Sir, &c., JULIET GARDNER. 28 Draycolt Place, Cadogan Gardens, S.W. 3.