Bill to Ban Animal Traps on Public Land Postponed
SANTA FE, N.M. – A bill to ban the use of traps and poisons for hunting on public lands has been postponed and may get its first hearing in the state Senate Conservation Committee next week.
Senate Bill 286 is intended to stop trappers from setting snares and traps that grab the animal's body, which leads to the deaths of an estimated 10,000 bobcats, coyotes, badgers and foxes each year in New Mexico.
Mary Katherine Ray, coordinator for Trap Free New Mexico, says animals belonging to hikers and hunters often fall victim as well.
"People are having their dogs caught,” she points out. “They're finding trapped wildlife in traps. And it's a safety issue. It's a wildlife exploitation issue. So on our shared space, the use of traps and poisons are just not compatible. They're too indiscriminate and too harmful."
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish sells a $20 permit that allows trappers to harvest an unlimited number of pelts.
The proposed bill has failed twice in past legislative sessions, but now has been revamped to include exceptions for human health and safety, and for scientific research.
Ray says a bobcat pelt will fetch $300 to $400, coyote pelt $50 and a fox skin $20.
"It's heartbreaking to see the pictures that the trappers will post of the dozens of animals that they've killed,” she states. “It just seems so exploitative that they just stack them up, as if they have no value in nature, that their only value is somehow dried on a stretcher as a skin."
About 1,600 trappers take out permits in New Mexico each year.
Arizona banned traps and poisons on public land in 1994, and Colorado banned them on both public and private lands in 1996.