Roxy’s Law Makes Public Lands Safer – Reform Now Game and Fish | My opinion

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Traps, snares, and poisons are deadly devices that have inflicted serious harm on people, pets, and wildlife across the state for a very long time. But fortunately, times are changing. The Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, also known as ‘Roxy’s Law’ – named after a 2018 snare victim – will ban the use of cruel and dangerous traps, snares and poisons. blind people on public lands in New Mexico starting April 1.

It was the passionate work of the TrapFree New Mexico Coalition, the true leadership of state legislators, the courageous testimony of trap victims from across the state, and ultimately the Governor’s signature that transformed this tragedy – and countless others like her – into a positive event. result for New Mexico. Roxy’s Law will make our public lands safer for everyone.

It is likely that millions of animals in New Mexico have been tortured, maimed, and killed by cruel limb-crushing traps and choke snares. This indiscriminate slaughter has lasted so long because a state agency – the Department of Game and Fisheries – has maintained it despite massive and clearly stated opposition. This self-serving department operates with the authority of the state but without any real accountability to the constituents it is supposed to serve, the people of New Mexico. The department’s behavior illustrates a fundamental failure of governance in our state.

With its relentless “hunting is conservation” propaganda, Game and Fish essentially operates New Mexico like a cash game farm, selling the state’s wildlife as “commodities” on its website. Let’s be clear: killing wildlife is not conserving wildlife in any sensible sense. This is the same state agency that did nothing to stop the obscene coyote killing contests. The state legislature had to step in and stop the massacre.

The State Game Commission which ostensibly oversees Game and Fish has positions for seven commissioners, only one of whom represents conservation interests. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor but are not required to have any training or expertise in wildlife, biological sciences or public trust duties and may be removed at any time without cause. This is a purely political exercise subject to abuse. Wildlife management should never be politicized.

Wildlife is a public good in which all New Mexicans have a legitimate interest, not just those who hunt and fish. But the 95 percent of New Mexicans who don’t hunt or fish are systematically excluded from state wildlife policy. This arrangement is deeply anti-democratic and lacks fundamental legitimacy.

The building blocks of good governance include: accountability, inclusiveness, responsiveness and transparency. New Mexico’s state wildlife management lacks these four essential elements. The ministry’s backward policies and management goals are far out of step with mainstream society and show little sign of improvement. There is no reason for us to allow a state agency to pursue an agenda that is clearly at odds with what most New Mexicans want for state wildlife: respectful coexistence. Without sweeping reform and reorientation of state wildlife management, we can and should expect abuses to continue.

Banning snares, snares and poisons on public lands is a victory for basic decency in our dealings with each other and what remains of our wildlife. There is no reason for us to condone the cruel and indiscriminate killing of our pets or wildlife. There is no excuse for repeating past mistakes and abuses, no matter how old. Tradition does not excuse abuse.

Charles Fox is a New Mexico wildlife advocate and member of the TrapFree New Mexico coalition.

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