Help Protect New Mexico's Abused and Abandoned Equines!
UPDATE: House Bill 390 ("EQUINE RESCUE & SHELTER RIGHT OF REFUSAL") passed the House State Government, Veteran and Indian Affairs Committee by a 5-3 vote, the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee 5-0, the House of Representatives 50-17 and the Senate Conservation Committee.
WHAT'S NEXT: The bill is waiting to be scheduled for a Senate vote, which will need to happen before the session ends on Saturday, March 18th!
Please contact your Senator and ask for their support for House Bill 390!
Horses and their equine relatives (donkeys, mules, hinnies, ponies) are an economically important and treasured part of New Mexico’s western heritage. The vast majority of New Mexicans want equines treated humanely and do not support equine slaughter. New Mexico’s laws should reflect those values.
New Mexico’s state laws (including the New Mexico Livestock Code) establish a “blanket” disposition for all livestock, including equines. As a result, homeless equines in the custody of the NM Livestock Board (estrays, abandoned, seized or running at large equines) are routinely sent to auctions and sold to so-called “killer-buyers” who then sell them for slaughter in Mexico.
Equine rescue facilities are often forced to compete at auction for equines they want to rescue and will later spend significant funds to rehabilitate and care for until they can be adopted. Rescue organizations cannot possibly monitor all auctions or afford to always compete with killer-buyers, and they shouldn’t have to.
HB 390, sponsored by Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces) would create equine-specific sections of the New Mexico Livestock Code and other laws to ensure that the nine equine shelters in the state will have the first right of refusal on stray, abandoned and abused equines. This will greatly increase the humane outcomes for these horses and allow horse rescues to expend their donor funds caring for the horses rather than bidding against others in auction.
Take action below to make sure your legislators vote 'yes' on HB 390 to give horse shelters the first right of refusal to protect abandoned and abused equines.
Support HB 254 Game Commission Legislative Appointments
HB 254 (Game Commission Legislative Appointments) is scheduled to be heard by the House State Government, Indian & Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday, February 21st at 8:00am in Capitol Room 309.
The New Mexico Game Commission is a 7-member board appointed by the governor for the purpose of setting wildlife policy and overseeing the work of the NM Department of Game & Fish. The Commission was created nearly 100 years ago, when wild animals were largely valued only insofar as they could be "used" by hunters, anglers, and trappers. But New Mexicans’ relationship to wildlife has changed.
The number of New Mexicans (and the portion of our state's economy) that focuses on simply watching, photographing and appreciating wildlife for “non-consumptive” purposes has increased dramatically, now bringing in over $377 million to the state.
What's more, Game Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Governor, are not required to have any education or experience in wildlife conservation, and can be removed for no reason (for example, for simply disagreeing with the administration). This has resulted in almost always unanimous Game Commission votes on wildlife policies that are based less on science and more on the political will of the Governor's office. And these policies can undulate radically from term to term, depending on who sits at the head of our state government.
House Bill 254 would adjust the Game Commission appointment process in order to create a more balanced (across political, geographic, and interest areas) and more knowledgable policy-making body by:
Setting 6-year term limits and staggering the terms;
Giving the Governor power to appoint 3 commissioners, one from each congressional district;
Giving Legislative Council Services power to appoint 4 commissioners:
1 represenative from the sportsmen community,
1 representative from the non-consumptive outdoor recreation community,
1 representative from the agriculture community, and
1 professional scientist specializing in biology, ecology, or wildlife management;
- Ensuring that a game commissioner can only be removed for cause, not simply for an unpopular vote.
Take action below to make sure your legislators vote 'YES' on House Bill 254 to make sure Game Commission appointments can be more balanced and more effectively represent New Mexicans and support more diverse choices for our wildlife.
Help support Animal Shelter Board Transfer!
House Bill 219 (Transfer Animal Sheltering Board to Sustain Its Mission) passed the House State Government, Indian & Veterans' Affairs and will next be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.
HB 219 will authorize the administrative move of the Animal Sheltering Board and its duties from the Regulation and Licensing Department to the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine.In Tuesday's committee, there may be a substitute bill introduced to specifically create a new “Animal Sheltering Committee” within the Board of Veterinary Medicine. As a subcommittee, the Animal Sheltering Committee would retain the Animal Sheltering Board's duties to support and disburse funds for low-cost spay/neuter in communities in need, while the Board of Veterinary Medicine would assume authority over licensing, inspections, and enforcement of humane euthanasia in animal shelters and, when resources allow, it may enforce operational and infrastructure standards in animal shelters. This structure for the efficient use of resources was developed by members of the Board of Veterinary Medicine, the Animal Sheltering Board, and other veterinary and animal shelter advocates, and we believe the substitute bill will reflect this approach.
Every year over 65,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in New Mexico’s animal shelters. New Mexicans agree that those animals who must be euthanized for lack of a forever home at least deserve humane euthanasia by trained and licensed individuals. As a part of reducing the number of homeless animals in our state, New Mexicans also want to see expansion of low-cost spay/neuter programs.Since its inception in 2007, when the New Mexico Legislature created the Animal Sheltering Board within NM’s Regulation and Licensing Department, the Board has implemented and monitored rules governing euthanasia protocols, overseen distribution of Spay/Neuter funding in counties across the state, published and distributed recommended minimum standards for shelters and more.
Take action below to make sure your legislators vote 'yes' on HB 129 and to adjust it to create a "Board/Subcommittee" structure — to support the Animal Sheltering Board's continuing mission while consolidating resources to effectively oversee and license humane euthanasia providers and maintaining important spay/neuter programs.
Action Needed: Restrict traps and poisons on public land
Senate Bill 286 ("NM Wildlife Protection & Public Safety Act") will be heard by the Senate Conservation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, at 8:30am in Capitol Room 311!
Restrict Outdated Traps & Dangerous Poisons on Public Lands
Senate Bill 286, sponsored by Sen. Pete Campos (D-Las Vegas) and Sen. Gay Kernan (R-Hobbs), will prohibit the use of deadly poisons and outdated leghold traps on New Mexico's public lands, unless the use meets one of several specific, narrow exemptions that allow for protection of public health, safety, and protection of important infrastructure and property. This bill will better align the management of wildlife with modern conservation practices and protect wildlife, companion animals, and citizens who enjoy our state's public lands.
Traps and poisons are not necessary to manage carnivore species to protect livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that carnivores kill only 0.18% of the total U.S. cattle inventory and 4% of the sheep inventory. Many non-lethal methods—including pens, sheds, and guard animals—are effective and widely available.
Restricting traps and poisons on public land makes economic sense. The presence of dangerous traps and poisons littering New Mexico’s public lands discourages wildlife watchers from spending their time—and money—in the Land of Enchantment. According to the most recent U.S. Fish & Wildlife Survey of Wildlife-associated Recreation, each year 787,000 people specifically seek to view and photograph wildlife in New Mexico. In contrast trappers represent only a fraction of the population, with only less than approximately 2,000 individuals buying a trapping license, many from out-of-state who cash in on wildlife pelts used in the fashion industry at the expense of wildlife and public safety. Promoting wildlife-watching in New Mexico is far more beneficial to our state's economy than promoting trapping.
Take action below to urge the Senate Conservation Committee to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 286!
*This form will only work for legislators who sit on the Senate Conservation Commitee. If your State Senator does not sit on this committee but you'd like to call them about SB 286 right away, please find their phone number here. Thank you for speaking out!
URGENT: Take action help ban coyote killing contests in New Mexico!
UPDATE: Senate Bill 268 ("Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests") passed the Senate Conservation Commitee by a 6-3 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 7-2 vote, the Senate floor by a 26-15 vote and the House Judiciary Committee by a 7-4 vote.
WHAT'S NEXT: The bill will need to be scheduled for a vote and heard on the House floor before the end of the session on Saturday, March 18th. Contact your State Representative right away and ask them to vote 'YES' on SB268!
Stop Coyote Killing Contests
Senate Bill 268, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) and Sen. Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque), will ban coyote killing competitions in which participants compete for prizes or entertainment by attempting to kill the most, largest, and smallest coyotes over a short period of time. At least 20-30 contests are held every year in all corners of the state.
Coyote killing contests have resulted in outrage—not only here in New Mexico, but also nationally and internationally—for promoting wanton killing that a significant majority of New Mexico voters (more than a two-to-one margin) find abhorrent. These contests do nothing to help attract business, drive tourism, or address livestock depredation. In fact, science shows that killing contests can often cause coyote populations to boom over the long term.
Ethical sportsmen oppose killing contests as a violation of fair-chase hunting values and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. It's time to end these horrific events.
Take action below to urge your legislator to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 268!
*This form will work for all NM State Representatives. Please email and then call your Representative immediately. Find their phone number here. Thank you for speaking out!
Urge NM lawmakers to embrace common sense rabies policies!
House Bill 109 ("Wild Animal Bite & Attack Procedures") has been stalled in the House State Government, Indian & Veterans Affairs Committee but could still pass with your support!
The experience of a New Mexico marathon runner rippled through national and international news—she startled a mother bear, who then attacked the runner to defend her cubs, and ran away... only to be tracked down and killed to be tested for rabies. Why? Because state laws required it. But when bears have never been known to carry rabies in New Mexico, was that action necessary? READ MORE ABOUT THIS STORY >>
House Bill 109 says it's time to require our state agencies to take a nuanced approach to managing human-wildlife contact. It specifies considtions where the Department of Health would and would not mandate euthanasia and rabies testing of an animal. And iit requires the following factors be taken into account in deciding how to handle an attacking animal: the species of animal, the circumstances of exposure and behavior of the animal at the time of the attack, the epidemiology or rabies in the local area, the animal's history and current health status, and the likelihood the animal might have been exposed to rabies.
No one is asking state officials to put human safety and health at risk. But New Mexicans love exploring our great outdoors and don't want to see our wildlife unnecessarily killed. A measured approach, balancing public health with wildlife coexistence, is the key.
Take action below to urge your State Representative to vote YES on House Bill 109!
*This form will only work for legislators who sit on the House State Government, Indian & Veteran Affairs Committee (HSIVC). Thank you!
Protect Wild Horses: Support the Improved SB126
Senate Bill 126 ("Change Livestock and Animal Definitions") was heard in the Senate Conservation Committee on 2/2 and again on 2/9, where an updated substitute bill was heard and passed.
Senate Bill 126 appears to be responding to complaints about wild horses in Placitas, NM and Alto, NM, who are residing or roaming on private land.Update:
We are grateful to Senate Bill 126 sponsor, Sen. Pat Woods, for accepting amendments to his bill to help ensure wild horses are treated humanely!As it stands now, because of a gap in statutory law and even more recent case law, there is no government agency with authority to humanely address wild horses on private land. At Animal Protection Voters, our top priority is to make sure these horses are neither harmed by landowners who do not welcome the wild horses, nor put into an auction process, becoming vulnerable to slaughter.Animal Protection Voters worked with the sponsor of SB126 to:
(1) exempt "wild horses" as defined in Section 77-18-5 from the definition of "livestock"
(2) expand the definition of "wild horses" in 77-18-5 so that it's not limited only to horses ON public land, but also means horses elsewhere (such as private land) that originated ON public land or descended from public land herds
(3) set out a specific process for wild horses captured on private land (where the current wild horse statute, 77-18-5, is silent) so that auction is NOT an option; but the options ARE: relocation to public land or a horse preserve; adoption to qualified persons for private maintenance; or *last resort* euthanasia if the horse is sick, crippled, or is unable to be relocated or adopted out.
(4) ensure that no state statute interferes with or applies to wild horses protected under the federal Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The humane treatment of wild horses demands more attention than even the revised version of SB126 can offer and APV is committed to ongoing work to ensure continuing improvements for relevant state statutes.
Take action below to urge your legislators to vote 'yes' to ensure a humane outcome for all wild horses!
Help make New Mexico's animal cruelty laws stronger
URGENT: House Bill 210 ("Cruelty to Animals Changes") will be heard in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee Tuesday, March 7th at 1:30pm in Capitol Room 309! Make your voice heard.
TAKE ACTION: If your State Representative sits on this committee*, please use the form below to urge him or her to VOTE YES on House Bill 210!
The link between cruelty to animals and violence to humans is well established. Our communities are safer and better places to live when our laws support keeping animals safe from harm. According to a 2013 Animal Legal Defense Fund report, New Mexico was one of the worst in the nation for animal protection laws. We must act now to make our laws stronger.
Prosecution of some animal cruelty cases have not been possible because of the current wording of the statute, resulting in difficulty obtaining convictions for clear-cut cases of cruelty to animals. In some cases, prosecutors have stated that the current statute doesn’t permit them to file fourth degree felony charges for dehydrating and starving an animal, even to the death.
The proposed amendments would make sure that unconscionable acts such as recklessly abandoning, starving or dehydrating animals to death would be prosecutable as fourth degree felonies. Currently unprotected captive reptiles would be covered under the new law.
Tell your representatives that this kind of cruelty to animals is part of the cycle of violence that is never acceptable, and we must hold accountable those who commit extreme crimes like these in order to protect New Mexico’s animals and entire communities.Take action below to support House Bill 210!
*This form will only work for legislators who sit on the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee. If your legislator is not on the committee, but you'd like to give them a heads up about House Bill 210 or any other pro-animal bill, find their phone number here.
New Mexico's companion animals need your help!
House Bill 123 ("Animal Food Fee for Sterilization Program")
UPDATE: This bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee -- but it hasn't been scheduled yet!
Please email and call your State Senator to urge them to vote 'yes' on HB 123.
Take action by using the form below.
More than 135,000 dogs and cats enter New Mexico's animal shelters every year—and almost half of them are euthanized simply for lack of adoptive homes. A major cause of this outcome is the fact that spay and neuter services are unaffordable, inaccessible, or both. The more homeless animals there are, the higher the cost to communities to provide animal care and control services sufficient not only to protect the animals, but also to protect the public from related risks such as bite injuries, disease transmission, traffic accidents and property damage.
Government officials have been asking for a mechanism to provide the level of spay/neuter funding our state needs to address the companion animal overpopulation problem. House Bill 123 offers the answer.
House Bill 123 (sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo) will require large pet food corporations—which currently pay a minuscule $2 annually to register each of their products in order to sell those products in our state—to contribute an additional $100 per product that will go directly to the Animal Care & Facility Fund. This fee increase would:
- generate an estimated $700,000-$800,000 per year;
- cover the costs to spay/neuter about 6,000-11,000 animals of income-qualified New Mexicans per year;
- help operate the Animal Sheltering Board's spay/neuter program administration.
* It is not a tax —but it is revenue that legislators and agency officials have been asking for. It will not impact households without pets—and those with pets, if the pet food companies pass down the entirety of the increased fee to consumer, are estimated to see only an extra $1.48/yr per household. We know most New Mexicans who care about animals are more than happy to spare the cost of a cup of coffee a year in order to help provide vital spay/neuter services, save animals' lives, and bring local animal control costs down.
Other states already benefit from this effective funding mechanism, and New Mexicans deserve this obvious solution to keep our animals and communities safe and healthy.
Take action below to support House Bill 123!
URGENT: Take action help ban coyote killing contests in New Mexico!
Senate Bill 268 ("Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests") passed the Senate Conservation Commitee by a 6-3 vote and will be heard next in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Stop Coyote Killing Contests
Senate Bill 268, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) and Sen. Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque), will ban coyote killing competitions in which participants compete for prizes or entertainment by attempting to kill the most, largest, and smallest coyotes over a short period of time. Coyote killing contests have resulted in outrage—not only here in New Mexico, but also nationally and internationally—for promoting wanted killing that a significant majority of New Mexico voters (more than a two-to-one margin) find abhorrent and that does nothing to help attract business, drive tourism, or address livestock depredation. Ethical sportsmen oppose killing contests as a violation of fair-chase hunting values and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. It's time to end these horrific events.
Take action below to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 268!
*This form will only work for legislators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If your State Senator does not sit on this committee but you'd like to call about SB 268 right away, please find their phone number here. Thank you for speaking out!
Oppose Inhumane Horse Slaughter
Help New Mexico's Companion Animals
Restrict Traps and Poisons on Public Lands
TAKE THE PLEDGE: I will vote for animal protection!
Here in New Mexico, we are at a crossroads.
Will we sit back and allow our state's wildlife to suffer and die at the hands of killing contest participants and trappers? Will we just give up on the dream of every single companion animal having a loving home?
Or will we say NO to cruelty and demand change for animals?
Join us in our fight to gain a pro-animal majority in our state legislature—simply by exercising your right to vote!
1. Please sign this pledge to use your vote to save animals' lives.
2. Then, share this petition with others! Help Animal Protection Voters build a chorus of grassroots advocates who will be a voice for animals in the state legislature and on the campaign trail.
AND DON'T FORGET: Check out the Animal Protection Endorsed Candidates HERE!
- Speak Up for Santa Fe's Beavers!
Stop Killing Contests