FARMINGTON – Ninety percent of New Mexico residents believe trapping should be banned on public lands, according to a report released Wednesday 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 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, founder of Republicans for Environmental Protections, Peggy Weigle, director of Animal Humane New Mexico and Kathryn Sedlacek of 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 other animal-rights organizations launch a statewide tour aimed at raising awareness about trapping in New Mexico. The group, TrapFreeNM.org, is hosting eight public meetings in the state beginning Monday.
The goal of the tour is to get other New Mexico government leaders to try to support a trapping ban on public lands, Keefover said.
The anti-trapping group has lobbied the commission to end trapping in the state.
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 of the state Department of Game and Fish. — This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal