WHAT: Doña Ana County Commission Meeting
WHERE: Doña Ana County Government Center (845 N. Motel Blvd)
WHEN: July 9th at 9:00am
WHY: The Doña Ana County commissioners will discuss and vote on the adoption of a new contract with Wildlife Services, the USDA-APHIS program under scrutiny for their indiscriminate and cruel wildlife “control” tactics. The use of public funds for ineffective wildlife management methods including M-44 sodium cyanide bombs, leghold traps, and aerial gunning is at stake. So too is the safety of public lands where Doña Ana County residents recreate with their companion animals. Under the existing contract, traps, snares, and poisons can be used across the landscape, endangering non-target wildlife, people, and pets.
For the past few months, the Doña Ana County Commission has been debating non-lethal vs. lethal wildlife “control.” In April, the commission passed a resolution supporting non-lethal control but then repealed it less than two months later in response to backlash from Wildlife Services, a federal agency that the county has traditionally contracted to respond to nuisance wildlife complaints. Wildlife Services is notorious across the United States for irresponsible and inhumane practices, its reliance on lethal animal “control,” and a lack of transparency and accountability.
The county’s newest resolution also includes language that describes indiscriminate and cruel leghold traps as “effective and humane,” a retrograde decision considering a commission resolution passed in 2010 that supports a statewide ban on traps, poisons, and snares on public lands due to their penchant for causing “unnecessary suffering and death to untold numbers of animals.”
This Tuesday, the County’s annual contract with Wildlife Services is up for review. In response, conservation groups in New Mexico have proposed a People’s Contract for Coexisting with Wildlife that reflects an ethic of coexistence, relies on the best available science, and prioritizes accountability and transparency.
The People’s Contract would prohibit Wildlife Services from using leghold traps, snares, and dangerous M-44 sodium cyanide bombs. It would also preclude expensive and wasteful aerial gunning of wildlife. Instead, the contract emphasizes the need for coexistence with native wildlife through long-term, proven, non-lethal deterrence methods and husbandry practices that would save public funds and benefit ecosystem function.
Over 130 county residents have already signed on to the People’s Contract.