There is a trio of wildlife bills proposed this legislative session that would cost the state – and thus taxpayers – nothing in cash while earning them the moral high ground when it comes to respecting New Mexico’s wildlife and ecosystems, which belong to those same taxpayers.
The first bill is a reworked version of last year’s proposal to ban traps and poisons on public land. It would stop the use of traps – leghold, conibear and snare – as well as poisons including sodium cyanide M-44s and Compound 1080 collars. All are indiscriminate, and all cause painful injuries and excruciating deaths.
Leg-hold traps were invented in the 1800s and have been banned in more than 80 countries, and banned or severely restricted in eight states, because they are archaic, cruel and indiscriminate. Poisons, which have accidentally killed badgers, bears, bobcats, foxes, birds and pets, cause equally gruesome outcomes. Yet the New Mexico Game Commission and Department of Game and Fish expanded trapping onto public lands, including state trust lands, last year and removed the permit requirement for cougars. This month the agencies were on the losing end of an anti-trapping lawsuit filed by Animal Protection of New Mexico and the Humane Society of the United States – the departments lost their bid to have the federal court dismiss that suit.