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Editorial: NM should get rid of, not expand, cruel traps

Why, in 2015, are the people entrusted with managing New Mexico’s lands and wildlife for posterity trying to expand the use of a barbaric trap invented in the 1800s?

Leg-hold traps have been banned in more than 80 countries that see them for what they are – archaic, cruel and indiscriminate as to what they maim and kill.

Yet the state Department of Game and Fish wants to expand their use here, allowing private landowners to trap cougars on their property without a permit – which is now required – from November through March.

And state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is petitioning the Game Commission to allow cougar trapping on state trust lands, which is not allowed now. He argues that state trust lands should be treated as “private.”

Perhaps that’s a question that should be debated, but the more important question is why would any land be suitable for a steel contraption that snares a living thing and causes it to bleed out, chew its caught limb off, or both?

Trapping is cruel and unsportsmanlike. State officials should be managing the state’s lands and wildlife in safe and humane ways circa 2015, not trying to ramp up an outdated and barbaric practice.

Since they can’t seem to do that, the 2016 Legislature should step in and, with perhaps exceptions for serious threats or nuisance issues, ban trapping.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.