March 4, 2015
NM House Committee Tables Coyote Killing Contest Bill
An effort to ban coyote killing contests in New Mexico hit a roadblock last week when the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife voted 8-2 last week to table SB253. Only Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) and Bobby Gonzales (D-Taos) supported the measure. McCamley defended the bill, saying: “This is not about hunting, this is not about livestock, this is not about coyotes. This is about us and what kind of people we are. It is about our values.”
The chair of the committee, rancher Candy Ezzell (R—Roswell), brought in James Schmidt as an expert witness in opposition to the bill. Introducing himself as a retired federal trapper and coyote expert, Schmidt said that coyotes are dangerous and were “a demon thing.” He failed to reveal that he had a serious conflict of interest. He is the owner of a company (Arizona Ammunition) that has sponsored a major coyote killing contest (World Championship Coyote Calling Contest) in New Mexico and other states every year since 1998. Presumably his company makes money off the event.
All of the Republicans on the committee voted against the bill, along with two Democrats, including Bealquin “Bill” Gomez from Dona Ana County. In his public remarks Gomez made the ludicrous suggestion that environmentalists (i.e. SWEC, since we were the ones that called the media) had planted 39 dead coyotes found near Las Cruces last December to generate support for a ban on killing contests.
The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) and Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), had previously passed the Senate by a 27-13 bipartisan vote, marking the first time such legislation has passed any chamber in any state. Although likely dead for this session, SWEC and partners are not giving up our efforts to end wildlife killing contests in New Mexico and other states. Meanwhile, killing contests are scheduled this weekend in Belen and Artesia.
Click here to read more coverage and lively comments on KRWG website.
Upcoming Events at SWEC
(Film screening) of Wrenched: Tuesday, March 10, 7 pm–a documentary detailing Edward Abbey’s legacy within the conservation movement.
(Art Exhibit) Environmentally Yours (opening reception): Friday, March 6, 5-7 pm (during Downtown Ramble)–the beginning of a two-month Las Cruces Arts Association exhibit in SWEC’s Cottonwood Gallery.
(Lecture) Hydrogeology of Central Jornada del Muerto: Implications for travel along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro: Friday, March 6, 7 pm–a talk by the Camino Real Trail Association (CARTA).
Rally for the Rio River Clean-up: Saturday, March 14, 8 am to Noon–meet at the north east corner of the Calle del Norte Bridge (Mesilla) over the Rio Grande for a fun morning of removing tons of trash from our Rio Grande. Bring gloves, sun protection, refillable water bottle. For more information or to signup please contact Leiloni Begaye at firstname.lastname@example.org.