Hunters and trappers have filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming New Mexico’s new fur-trapping laws are unfair and discriminatory.

As of April 2022, the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act also known as Roxy’s Law has banned the use of traps, snares and poison for the purposes of capturing wildlife on public land. The law, named after a dog killed by a trap in Northern New Mexico.

“This has been so important for New Mexico to enact for a number of reasons we know that traps, snares, and poisons when used to mass eradicate a wild species or to kill animals for fur to make a profit is cruel and unnecessary,” said Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico Chief Government Affairs Officer, Jessica Johnson.

The National Trappers Association and its New Mexico chapter, along with a group called the Fur Takers of America claim the law unfairly favors Native Americans, allowing them to trap for religious or ceremonial reasons, and that the law violates equal protection clauses of the state U.S. constitutions, but the state disputes all that. “There is a long-standing recognition of respecting Native American religious practices in this country and in the state of New Mexico so that part of the bill is not reinventing the wheel and it’s one of several exceptions that were well vetted,” Johnson said.

The Trappers and their attorneys did not comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit names the state’s Attorney General and the Department of Game and Fish, both agencies say they are reviewing the lawsuit.

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