Trapping is once again the target of animal rights groups in New Mexico. The groups are pushing for a ban on all recreational and commercial trapping on public lands within the state.
Last year, a ban on trapping in
the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area was said to protect Mexican Gray Wolves. The ban, which was originally set at 6 months, was later extended and is still in effect.
At the time, New Mexico trappers were nervous about the precedent the limited ban set. Their fears appear to have been warranted as the animal rights groups are attempting to push the trapping ban statewide:
WildEarth Guardians, Animal Protection of New Mexico and the Sierra
Club outlined their concerns in a letter sent Tuesday to the New Mexico
Game Commission and the state Game and Fish Department.
been years trying to get them to address this issue. It’s cruel, it’s
inhumane, it’s disgusting,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring, WildEarth
Guardians’ carnivore protection director.
As is the case in most attempts to ban trapping, the animal rights groups are attempting to stir up emotion by using stories of pet dogs being caught in the traps:
Michael Trujillo was hiking with his doberman,
Ni a, one afternoon about seven years ago in the desert west of Picacho
Hills, when he was interrupted by a sharp noise from his dog.
of the sudden, I hear a yelp, and she’s far enough away from me I can’t
tell what’s going on,” he said. “I see something attached to her leg,
and I thought it was a rattlesnake.”
Once he ran closer, Trujillo
said he discovered the real culprit: The line he’d seen was a cable
from a coyote trap. The snare was clamped on Ni a’s foot, and the dog
at that point was lying on the ground.
“She was in a whole lot of pain,” said Trujillo, 60, a retired homebuilder. “She wasn’t biting me, but she was threatening to.”
said eventually he was able to calm his dog and wrangle the leg-hold
trap a metal device that clamps the foot or leg off its foot after
about 10 minutes. He said there were no broken bones or torn flesh, but
“her foot swelled up real big and she was pretty hurt.”
Of course, if Trujillo had his dog on a leash or even nearby him as he walked on the trail, this incident would have never happened. Traps must be at least 25 yards from trails on public lands in New Mexico. And the extent of his dog’s injuries should also be questioned. A properly set foothold trap should cause little to no pain to a dog. The dog was most likely just surprised by the trap, not injured.
Once again, it seems that the real problem here is an uninformed public when it comes to trapping. Many public land users do not understand trapping or the traps themselves. In fact, even the article Trujillo is quoted in and the website comments on that story are littered with misinformed statements, false pieces of info and misleading word choices.
It is our job as trappers to help educate non-trappers so these attacks on trapping rights are put to an end. Many who don’t trap think foothold traps (or leg-holds as they are
often falsely called) maim or kill animals. A surprising number of
people even think the traps have teeth that cut into flesh and break bones.
The National Trappers Association put out a video several years ago that is a great tool for trappers. It is called “Destroying the Myth” and can be found here: http://www.nationaltrappers.com/video/Destroying%20the%20Myth.mp4. I encourage you to share the link with your non-trapping friends, neighbors, relatives and colleagues. E-mail it, post it on your Facebook page and spread the word. A little education can go a long way.
Also, as these anti-trapping efforts continue, it’s extremely important that we stay united and organized. If you aren’t already, please join your state trapping association, the National Trappers Association, Fur Takers of America and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.
I will post additional information on the New Mexico situation as it becomes available, including ways you can help New Mexico trappers fight these anti-trapping efforts.