FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2021
SANTA FE, N.M.—Today Senate Bill 32, the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, a.k.a. “Roxy’s Law,” passed the Senate Conservation Committee by a vote of 7 to 2.
Sponsored by Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Ranchos de Taos), Senator Brenda McKenna (D-Corrales), Representative Chris Chandler (D-Los Alamos), and Representative Matthew McQueen (D-Galisteo), Senate Bill 32 would prohibit traps, snares, and poisons on public lands with a few important exemptions including the protection of human health and safety, scientific research, ecosystem management by professionals, and the protection of sovereign tribal religious practices.
The vote demonstrated bipartisan legislative support for a bill that is supported by the majority of New Mexicans, from hunters and nature enthusiasts to dog walkers and park visitors. Senate Bill 32 would spare enormous numbers of New Mexican wildlife from being killed on public lands by outdated and painful methods—nearly 150,000 native creatures have been killed by private trappers in the state since 2008. The bill will also save unsuspecting companion animals and their human families from prolonged suffering. Since the 2020-2021 trapping season began, at least 8 dogs are known to have been caught in privately set traps on public land across the state. The most recent incidents occurred near Abeyta, Pecos, Rowe Mesa, and Cloudcroft and include several trapped pets and a trapped hunting dog.
Senate Bill 32 now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“It’s past time this madness ended,” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Public lands should be safe, wildlife should be respected, people should not be afraid to take their dogs or children on a hike. The solution is simple—the legislature needs to act.”
“Traps are like landmines, catching and harming any creature unlucky enough to step on them,” said Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center. “It’s time to get them off our public lands.”
“As a wildlife biologist, I can say definitely that trapping is not a legitimate form of wildlife management,” said Michelle Lute, PhD, national carnivore conservation manager for Project Coyote. “Our public lands and the wildlife that live on them must be protected from such cruel and wanton waste.”
“No one who visits our public lands should be subjected to finding suffering wildlife in traps or the trauma of their own beloved dog being harmed,” said Mary Katherine Ray, Wildlife Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, who has experienced the anguish of both.
“New Mexico Wild Action Fund believes that wildlife is held in public trust for the protection and continued enjoyment of all New Mexicans, and should not be commercialized. We applaud Senators Gonzales and McKenna and Representatives McQueen and Chandler for their efforts to end the practice of trapping on our public lands,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild Action Fund.
Animal Protection Voters’ Chief Government Affairs Officer, Jessica Johnson, noted, “New Mexicans overwhelmingly agree that it is past time for New Mexico to join our neighboring states of Colorado and Arizona and say goodbye to traps, snares, and poisons on the public lands we share. Let’s not wait for more or bigger tragedies to happen before taking action.”
“Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered subspecies of gray wolf in the world. Despite steady population growth over the past 20 years, trapping continues to hinder our ability to recover this important species,” says Michael Dax, New Mexico representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “The time has come to get traps off our public lands.”
“Trapping on public lands is indiscriminate and an ineffective tool for wildlife management, killing thousands of unintended animals instead of targeted predators; it’s primary motive is private profit from a public trust resource,” said Greg Peters, Public Lands & Wildlife Advocate for Conservation Voters New Mexico. “By ending trapping on our public lands, we will make them safer for NM residents and NM wildlife – creating more equitable access to nature while benefiting our local outdoor economy.”
“Today’s vote gives us hope that very soon, rare and beautiful animals will no longer fall victim to cruel and indiscriminate leghold traps and strangulation snares,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City. “These killing devices should never have been allowed on public lands.”