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Roxy’s Law takes one more step forward
SANTA FE, N.M.—Today, by a vote of 7 to 4, the New Mexico State House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee passed Senate Bill 32, the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, also known as “Roxy’s Law.”
Championed in HEENRC by Senator Brenda McKenna (D-Corrales) with support by co-sponsors Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Galisteo) and Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), SB 32 makes critical strides towards protecting all those who enjoy the outdoors, humans and animals, by prohibiting traps, snares, and poisons on public lands (with a few important exemptions). SB 32 would restrict the ability for private individuals to take and sell limitless numbers of New Mexican wildlife, for their own personal, commercial gain. And they do this using barbaric methods with a long history and evidence of undue pain, suffering, and danger to other wildlife and the general public. The bill is also led by co-sponsor Sen. Bobby Gonzales (D-Ranchos de Taos).
Sen. McKenna said, “I am so honored to be a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 32, legislation I have supported for years. As a state, and as a society generally, we should no longer condone use of these barbaric devices that cause severe pain, injuries include broken bones, permanent maiming, and more often than not death in any beings unfortunate enough to come close to them. Thank you to all the public supporters of the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act who shared their stories and raised their voices. And thank you to my House colleagues for helping push this vital bill forward. Animals on public land should not be collateral damage for trappers and their profits.”
“Trapping, snares, and poisons are not acceptable ways to kill animals. Seeing an end to this kind of inhumane treatment of any animals in New Mexico is why I am supporting SB 32,” said Rep. Chandler. “It is time we welcome tourists and New Mexican natives to enjoy more of our public lands, free from the potential dangers or these devices and I thank all the supporters of SB 32 for shepherding this bill into law.”
Traps, snares, and poisons are indiscriminate, able to injure or kill non-target animals unlucky enough to trigger the devices. Nearly 150,000 native creatures have been killed by private trappers since 2008 including the endangered Mexican gray wolf called Mia Tuk who was caught in a trap and bludgeoned to death by a trapper in 2015. Two wolves have been injured in traps in New Mexico in the past 6 months.
The victims of trapping, snares, and poisons on public lands include more animals than the fur-bearing or destructive wildlife the devices are nominally set to ensnare. Roxy’s Law was named in honor of a beloved dog who, in 2018, was strangled to death by a trapper’s snare while hiking with her human. Since the 2020-2021 trapping season began, at least 9 dogs been caught in privately set traps and snares on public land. The most recent incidents occurred near Abeyta, Pecos, Rowe Mesa, Cloudcroft, and Dixon and don’t include the unknown numbers who are not reported or tragically never found.
SB 32 will now go to the House floor for a final vote. The bill passed the New Mexico Senate on March 9.
Additional Quotes From Sponsoring Organizations:
“It’s past time this archaic mass killing 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 House now needs to follow the Senate’s example.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Getting indiscriminate traps off of public lands is critical for endangered species like Mexican gray wolves, which are frequently caught and often injured or killed by these devices,” said Eddie Estrada, New Mexico field representative for the Endangered Species Coalition. “Lobos already face enough obstacles to recovery without the threat of injury or death in a trap set on public lands.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.