Wild ponies on Pembrokeshire’s Preseli hills should be exempt from being electronically tagged.

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies has made the call in response to EU rules which will come into force this summer.

From July 1st, all foals must be microchipped within six months of birth or by December 31st.

But putting expensive tags on semi-feral ponies is an expensive waste of time that could even lead to welfare problems says Mr Davies.

“I wholeheartedly agree with improving animal welfare but I don’t think this is the right way to go about it,” he said.

“Voluntary microchipping of horses should be phased in over ten years, unless they are going for export, and semi-feral horses and ponies should be exempt altogether.”

It is feared vets will not be able to treat animals unless they are microchipped, but paying £70 to tag a semi-wild pony only worth up to £100 is not feasible.

Mr Davies added: “We do not want a situation that could lead to animal welfare problems. The equine industry has been lumbered with an excessive burden of bureaucracy and there is an urgent need for common sense.”