Wednesday, August 4, 2010
H.R. 5482 – Our Only Hope
H.R. 5482, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, was introduced on June 8th by Congressman Walter Jones. This bill is the only hope we have to return our wild horse herd to physical and genetic health. Why do we need legislation to accomplish this?
The Currituck Outer Banks Wild Horse Management Plan was put into place in 1997. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund requested a herd size of 100 and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (Department of Interior) requested zero. After prolonged and contentious debate, the herd size was set at a maximum of 60 – a number not based on any existing scientific data but merely a number upon which all parties were finally able to agree.
DNA testing completed in 1992 and again in 2008, by Dr Gus Cothran of Texas A&M, an internationally recognized equine geneticist and expert on wild herds, showed that the Corolla horses have less genetic diversity than any other group of horses and that the horses had now reached a “genetic bottleneck." In view of this current scientific data, the Fund requested a change to the management plan based on Dr. Cothran’s recommendation of a minimum population of 120 – 130. Our request was denied based on the USFWS’ position that a larger number could have a negative impact on the refuge.
It is important to note that the wild horses on Shackleford Banks (protected by the 1998 Shackleford Banks Act, also introduced by Congressman Jones) have been managed at 120 – 130 for the last 12 years on 3,000 acres with no documented impact. The Corolla horses have access to 7,544, 2,500 of which is USFWS property.
A hearing on the bill was held in Washington, DC on July 27th. Both Congressman Jones and Karen McCalpin testified. To watch the proceedings or read testimony, go to http://jones.house.gov/ . Go the right side of the page, “Recent News,” click on Congressman Jones testimony or the story below to read Karen McCalpin’s testimony.
The entire proceeding can be viewed at: http://resources.edgeboss.net/wmedia/resources/10_07_27_oceans.wvx
To just watch Karen’s testimony skip to 40:26.
To express your support, please contact Congressman Jones at:
Congressman Walter Jones
2333 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Or e mail from his website.