Local News

Diseased Wild Horses Euthanized

Posted November 20, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— North Carolina health officials euthanized 74 wild horses Wednesday. The animals were put down after testing positive for what officials call an AIDS-like blood disease.

While equine infectious anemia cannot be contracted by humans, state veterinarians say the disease threatened the state's horse population. The 74 horses were taken from a barrier island near Beaufort and were given lethal injections Wednesday morning in Sampson County.

Opponents like Gaye McKeithan say the euthanization was unnecessary.

"It was unfortunate that we had to take this step of putting these horses down," said Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham. "But it was in the best interest of the horse industry in the state."

One-hundred-six wild horses still roam the barrier island, but activists are worried that concern over this disease could further reduce their numbers.