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Walter J.

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  • Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act

    by Representative Walter B. Jones

    Posted on 2013-06-03

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    JONES. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for their words today, and I'll take just a few minutes.

    Mr. Speaker, as has been said by both, this is a plan to maintain and protect a part of North Carolina's history. As Mr. Wittman said, these horses have been traced back by genetic experts to the Spanish mustangs that swam ashore in the 1600s. They are really part of our heritage.

    These beautiful little horses roam, as has been said by both sides today, over 7,500 acres of public and private land. This is in Currituck County out at Corolla.

    {time} 1700 These little horses are so special that the citizens of our area decided that they should try to create a foundation where they could work together with the Federal Government, the State government, and the county government; and it's known as the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. It is a nonprofit. These people are absolutely convinced and committed to making sure that for years to come down the road that these little horses will still have the ability to reproduce. And that's been part of the problem, Mr. Speaker, is that if you allow this herd to get down to about 60 horses, you will not be able to maintain the diversity of the herd.

    That is why an expert, Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M, as has been said in the comments by both sides, has said that you have to have a minimum of 120 horses but no more than 130. We are of the firm belief that H.R. 126 will do what is necessary to continue to make sure that we have a viable herd of these horses that have been traced back to the Spanish galleons that came to the coast of North Carolina and wrecked and these horses swam ashore. They've been able to live for that many years.

    This is very close to legislation, and I want to thank the House in a bipartisan way, in 1998 we did the same thing that we are trying to do in Corolla down in Currituck County down at Shackleford Banks. And what was interesting, President Clinton was President at the time, and Erskine Bowles was Chief of Staff to President Clinton, and Erskine Bowles got behind the legislation, and that's exactly what we're trying to do. It was the Park Service down at Shackleford Banks; this is Fish and Wildlife, but thank you for your comments.

    I want to thank the chairman for his comments because there's no reason that we cannot make both sides happy to do what needs to be done and to protect what, to me, when you look at this beautiful little horse, it is God's gift to the world. So thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and ranking member. Thank you for giving me this time to speak on behalf of these horses. I hope that we can pass this legislation.

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