Appalling Coyote-Killing Contests Now Banned On 9 Million Acres Of New Mexico State Land

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Newly-appointed New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard signed her first Executive Order yesterday, banning killing contests targeting unprotected species on nine million acres of state trust lands.

Garcia Richard was joined at the signing by animal and wildlife advocates from Animal Protection Voters, The Sierra Club, Project Coyote, Wild Earth Guardians, Prairie Dog Pals, and Wildlife Conservation Advocacy Southwest.

The order makes it illegal to organize, sponsor, or participate in a killing contest of innocent and unprotected animals, such as coyotes, for so-called “entertainment” or prizes on state land.

“These are not hunting contests. They are animal cruelty contests. It is an inexcusable practice, and today I used my authority to ban organized killing contests of unprotected species on any of the nine million acres of State Trust Land that I am charged with overseeing,” Garcia Richard noted during a press conference and on a statement released by the New Mexico Land Office. “The position of the State Land Office under my direction is that all wildlife is sacred and all wildlife play a vital role in our environment.”

While this is much-needed positive news and a step in the right direction, why condone “hunters who hunt ethically, hunters who use practices that follow the law and include fair chase.”

There is no such thing as “ethical hunting” of innocent animals.

But, as per Garcia Richard, what was being addressed was “the blood sport where participants kill dozens of animals without sound justification and play for cash and prizes.”

Garcia Richard also clarified that the ban “does not restrict a rancher’s ability to humanely remove or kill an animal causing harm to agriculture or domestic pets on State Trust Lands.”

Unfortunately, the ban only applies to trust land and covers those species not regulated by the state Fish and Game Department, such as coyotes.

Over the years, moves to ban coyote-killing contests statewide have so far failed to have been passed into law.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, a new bipartisan bill has been pre-filed for the coming 60-day session by Senators Mark Moores of Albuquerque, and Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces.

May the coyote-killing ban on New Mexico State Trust Lands inspire others to stop the senseless killing contests of innocent animals around the world, whether on unprotected or protected land.

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