FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO (Farmington Daily Times) - Ninety percent of New Mexico residents believe trapping should be banned on public lands, according to a report released today by a panel of seven New Mexico citizens.
The report was created through online surveys organized by the People's Forum on Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico.
The public's opinion was interpreted with a 30-day survey that accepted electronic and written comments. More than 2,400 people responded to the survey and 1,600 were from New Mexico, according to the report.
“The Panel recommends that trapping be banned from public land as soon as possible. Trapping harms other lands users and their companion animals, turns the public's wildlife into a personal commodity, and jeopardizes animal populations, including endangered species,” Peggy Nelson, the panel's chairwoman and a retired district court judge, said in a prepared statement. “It is just plain dangerous, cruel, and non-discriminating.”
Nathan Cote, a former New Mexico legislator, Kathy Holian, a Santa Fe County Commissioner, Martha Marks, the founder of Republicans for Environmental Protections, Peggy Weigle, the director an Animal Humane New Mexico and Kathryn Sedlacek, the outdoor leader for the New Mexico Mountain Club, were also on the panel.
Trapping is when animals are captured with traps for their furs. Bobcat pelts can be sold for between $200 and $600 and are a driving force behind New
Mexico trapping, said Wendy Keefover, the director of carnivore protection for WildEarth Guardians.
The panel's survey results were released just before WildEarth Guardian, the Sierra Club and several other animal-rights organizations are preparing a statewide tour aimed at raising awareness about trapping in New Mexico.
The group, TrapFreeNM.org, is hosting eight public meetings beginning Monday in cities throughout the state.
There is a trapping meeting in Farmington on April 17 at San Juan College in the Information Technology Room 7103 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The goal of the tour is to get other New Mexico government leaders to try to support a trapping ban on New Mexico public lands, Keefover said.
“We're trying to inspire other decision makers,” she said. “The Game Commission was a dead end.”
The anti-trapping group has lobbied the commission to end trapping in New Mexico.
The New Mexico State Game Commission last voted on trapping last July. The commission voted to expand trapping in certain parts of protected national forest and also voted on several changes to trapping rules and regulations, said Marty Frentzel, the chief of information and outreach for the State of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The game and fish department issues furbearers licenses. The number of licenses issued in New Mexico decreased in recent years.
There were 1,928 furbearers licenses issued in the state in 2009, 1,730 licenses issued in 2009 and 1,022 licenses issued in 2010, according to game and fish statistics.
Trappers do not need a license to catch coyotes or skunks, Frentzel said.
Only four percent of people who responded to the survey for the panel's report said they trapped animals.
When asked what activities respondents did enjoy doing on public lands, the most common activities were watching wildlife, hiking with pets and skiing, according to the report.
Frentzel said the game and fish department had never conducted a public opinion survey on trapping.
Copyright 2015 Farmington Daily Times
Updated 1023 days ago Article ID# 1547048