SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Trapping has long been a controversial topic in New Mexico, and now one lawmaker wants to outlaw the trapping of animals on public lands.
The bill comes from Democrat Sen. Pete Campos of Las Vegas. He isn’t a self proclaimed animal activist. For him, he says the bill addresses a combination of issues.
His idea is to outlaw both trapping and poisoning animals on all of New Mexico’s more than 13 million acres of public lands.
If passed, it would be a misdemeanor crime.
Sen. Campos says his bill seeks to bring together and satisfy several interest groups.
“It’s about animals, public safety. It’s about tourism, it’s about ensuring the public is safe,” he said. “At the same time, it also means that we want to protect the area ranchers here in New Mexico.”
One of the groups supporting the bill is TrapFree New Mexico — a group that calls trapping cruel and under-regulated.
A national group called Sportmen’s Alliance has spoken out against the bill, though, arguing that it would “make effective wildlife control nearly impossible,” and that trapping “protects livestock.”
But Sen. Campos’ bill does come with a few exceptions, like if the trapping is done for scientific research or if the trapping or poisoning is needed to control a certain population of animal, like beavers, prairie dogs or rats.
Trapping is already illegal on public lands around trails, roads and campsites.