Horse Health

Editorial: East Coast’s wild horse herd deserves protection

by the Editorial Board of the Winston-Salem Journal

Tourists still cherish the sight of the horses.

Corolla Wild HorsesAs coastal wild horses live their untamed lives, they face challenges to their very existence. It’s time for our lawmakers to take action to preserve these natural wonders.

For hundreds of years, Spanish mustangs moved freely along the Outer Banks. In these days of heavy development, they roam around the northern Outer Banks town of Corolla, which only in the last several years has seen that development.

Tourists still cherish the sight of the horses. Several tour companies make money off them. But they are now threatened by overexposure to man and federal policies that leave them severely inbred, The News and Observer of Raleigh reported recently.

Some tourists, perhaps not accustomed to nature, have taken to trying to chase the horses down for photographs or to feed them foods that, while fine for people, are sometimes deadly for horses.

When approached by authorities, some tourists have reacted belligerently, the News and Observer reported. And federal policies limiting the number of horses – roughly 100 now – has led to dangerous inbreeding.

Some federal authorities would like to see the herd shrink even further; they describe the herd as pests that compete with native wildlife species for food and fresh water. If so, they’re pests that have been part of the landscape for 500 years.

Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina sponsored a bill last year that passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously that would allow the herd to grow to 130; a few horses from the Shackleford Banks, on the southern tip of the Outer Banks, would be added to infuse some fresh genes into the herd. The bill has languished, though, in the Senate.

It should be passed. And better protection for the horses is needed as well, including stiff penalties for interfering with federally-protected wildlife.

These horses are beloved by many of North Carolina’s citizens, as well as visitors. They’re a remnant and reminder of a wilder past, and should be cared for and protected.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Journal

15 replies »

  1. As a Winston-Salem, NC resident these horses are a very important part of our history in NC. They deserve all the protection that can be provided by invading million dollar homes and other structures that should not be there. If you donot enjoy the horses then do not build your house next to them!


  2. DO NOT RELY ON POLITICIANS! Put referendums on the ballot. The people must rule, by for and of. NEVER FORGET! We will lose our wildlife, our wild horses and burros are under attack and with each blink there are less.


    • Here is the travesty. Our government knows how the American people feel. The people involved with this didn’t care. They knew this would be opposed because FWS tried to implement President Carter’s E.O. 11987, the Exotic Organisms Act in 1977 but there was much resistance from the pet and nursery industries. They changed tactics and listed proposed rule changes in the Federal Register, and the American people overwhelmingly objected–twice! This is why FWS’s partner non-governmental-organization, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources had its lawyers draft it into international law in 1982. By the time the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (which we initially intended or considered supporting) was opened, the word exotic had been changed to the more threatening term “alien.” Article 8 (h) instructs parties to the conference to prevent, control, and eradicate alien species in states or parts of states where found.

      In the 1993 OTA Report hundreds of species of flora and fauna are listed as harmful, non-indigenous species to the U.S., but the rub is that some of the species are not even species. The fact that the horse is listed belies any claim that this list is based on science. Instead, its a list of species that are found near valuable natural resources throughout our country, and it looks to me like the idea is to remove people and the animals and plants that people need to survive or make a living in certain areas from the area the government wants to control. This would allow the industries that want to mine oil, gas, coal, rare Earths, and precious metals to have all of the water and to avoid the expense of making sure that they do not pollute water or the ground.

      The self-proclaimed expert who created and implemented this charade has been supported thru one of Al Gore’s gimmicks for decades. President Clinton left him in a position to influence national science funding as well as direct the direction of our national science programs. Furthermore, President Clinton protected members of the IUCN from criminal prosecution based on his perception that we would all be stupid enough to believe that the word international meant these experts were working for international organizations. The people who have done the most damage to our wild horses were college professors and/or affiliated with The Nature Conservancy.

      The immediate trouble we face is that the Senate is controlled by Senator Reid. We are all familiar with the stories and the history of the Burns amendment or Burns rider. Apparently, there was some discussion in the fall of 2004 about adding the Burns solution for our wild horses as an amendment to the Senate’s November 2004 omnibus appropriations bill for 2005. Senator Reid and his office flatly denied that ever had any interest in the Burns amendment. Well, I find this highly credible. If the measure to kill our wild horses via horse slaughter were presented as a single item with a recorded vote, the chances were nil and next to nil that it would have passed. Senator Reid, as the World Bank’s executioner, could not afford a no vote. That is why the Burns rider was slipped in the bill late on the night it was to be voted on.

      That said, we don’t know how many wink wink nod nod Senators supported the Burns amendment but did not want to be on the record as having voted for it. We do know that APHIS was ordered to do an 11 month report on its own horse slaughter operations that most of us have seen. We know that this was what prompted Dr. Kirkpatrick and Dr. Fazio to write their paper on the horse as North American native species (not for the R.O.A. M. Act as I had thought), and we know that eventually Representative Whitfield led the charge to defund horse meat inspectors in 2006.

      Once the FAO agreed to draft the UN CBD into the IPPC in 1996, the IUCN met in Tronheim, Norway, and agreed that they needed a funding organization for their now necessary world wide education program about alien, invasive species. Initially, The Nature Conservancy, the IUCN, the CABI, FAO, and the SABTTA funded the Global Invasive Species Programme from 1997-2003. From 2004-2006, the World Bank added its funds and from 2007-2009 the World Bank’s partner organization Bank of the Netherlands funded GISP until the program ended in 2009. I’ve wondered if Senator Burns comments in 2009 was the signal that the WB needed to hear to know that Senator Reid was doing his part.

      Karen and Debbie repeatedly came to the point tonight over the fact that our horses are scapegoated for all the damage that happens to the land. There is a reason for this and it has nothing to do with whether or not the land managers actually believe this or not. The horses are just a piece of this. Rancher’s are being used to get rid of wild horses in the West, and wild horse advocates are being used as are environmental advocates to get rid of ranchers and cows. But for that to happen, the horses have to go first. If the cows went first, who would help get rid of the horses??

      I think we have trouble believing this because it is not the kind of thing that any of us would think our fellow human beings would do, but they did and they are doing it. . . unless we can stop them.


  3. Bravo !!! All of our Mustangs are important , as we love them all, it is time for everyone to Stand Up for them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Of course – the federal authorities want to get rid of them! Look at what they have done or are doing to the wild horses & burros. Unfortunately, there are enough in Congress & the Senate with the same mindset to prevent the SAFE Act, the PAST Act & Representative Jones bill (above). This is no surprise. Elections are coming up quickly – these politicians need to be weeded out. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some incoming members that actually cared about our national treasures?


    • Deear Maggie, beiieve in the Law of averages, then it will happen…………….. There has to be People in Politics that believe as we do !!!!! Weed the Morons who have no Idea, I always think that vote them all out who we know are anti Mustangs ………………….


      • I’ve never seen a list – but I bet there has to be one! Maybe someone on this blog has seen one. If so, would be helpful.


    From ISPMB (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros

    On July 10th, 2014, Representative, Chris Stewart (UT-R), introduced a bill to the Committee on Natural Resources which could ultimately spell doom for America’s Wild Horses and Burros. The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Bob Bishop (UT-R) and Tom McClintock (CA-R).

    On July 15th, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation and is titled “Wild Horse Oversight Act.” There are 26 members on this committee of which 14 are Republicans and 12 are Democrats.

    To find out if your Representative is on this committee please click here:

    Act now and write your Representative if they are on the Committee and state the following in your own words:

    The Wild Horses and Burros Act (PL 92-195) became a federal law to protect America’s wild horses and burros for all Americans and future generations to enjoy. Left to the state’s control in 1971, we would have no wild horses or burros left in our country. The same holds true for today if states take control of management.

    Please let us remind you that wild horses and burros can ONLY be removed if they are causing damage to their habitat and that can only be proven through monitoring of their habitat by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This means that setting a permanent AML (appropriate management level), as BLM currently does, is arbitrary and capricious. In other words, it is illegal.

    Those people, who have wanted for years to eliminate wild horses, live in the 10 western states in which the wild herds reside. The same states that want to take control of management now.

    In 1974 when the first counts were done on population of wild horses and burros, there were approximately 60,000 animals at which time the law stated that the animals were “fast disappearing from the American scene.” Now we have only half that number existing on public lands.

    What should be required of the BLM is monitoring of the public lands to determine who is causing damage to the lands. Since BLM is comprised of the same culture of people who have advocated for the removal of wild horses and burros, a new independent agency should be developed whose only job would be monitoring public lands with the ultimate goal of restoring the health of the land and who would have the power to remove those animals causing damage.

    Read more about these representatives.
    Chris Stewart (Utah)
    Rob Bishop (Utah)
    Tom McClintock (California)


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