Tell the Doña Ana County Commission:
Prioritize humane wildlife coexistence
On April 23, 2019 the Doña Ana County commission passed a resolution to cease using county funds for lethal predator and rodent control. But two months later, after pressure from employees of the killing agency – Wildlife Services – and narrow ranching interests, the commission repealed that resolution, setting the stage to renew their contract with the rogue federal wildlife killing agency and maintain the status quo of cruel, reactive killing practices. But there is still time to stop this backslide and protect native wildlife from cruel and indiscriminate traps, poisons, and other wasteful killing tools.
Please raise your voice to tell the Doña Ana county commission to do what’s right for wildlife. When the contract is renewed it should have the provisions of the People’s Contract for Coexistence with Wildlife (text below).
This contract, conceived by our conservation partner, the Southwest Environmental Center, would prohibit the county for paying for leghold traps and snares, M-44 cyanide bombs and wasteful aerial gunning. It would also call for transparency and accountability from the secretive agency in the form of reports available to the public. There are science-based, ethical, humane, and effective ways to proactively deal with human-wildlife conflict. Reactive killing is not the way. Click here to let your county commissioners know that you want coexistence, not cruelty.
Also, please attend the county commission meeting on Tuesday, July 9 startingat 9 AM in commission chambers located at 845 N. Motel Blvd. The Wildlife Services Contract is agenda item 22.
Thank you for supporting wildlife!
Mary Katherine Ray, Wildlife Chair, Rio Grande Chapter Sierra Club
For years, Doña Ana County has used county funds to pay for an annual contract with a federal agency called Wildlife Services (part of USDA) to respond to “nuisance” wildlife calls, mostly by killing coyotes (at the request of ranchers) and skunks. The Commission still has a chance to do the right thing. Final approval of a new contract with Wildlife Services will be on the agenda at the Commission’s July 9th meeting. We need to make sure that the new contract reflects our values. Below is the “People’s Contract” concieved by our conservation partners at the Southwest Environmental Center. Urge the Doña Ana county commission to include its provisions in the new Wildlife Services Contract.
The Peoples Contract for Coexisting with Wildlife
We the people of Doña Ana County demand that any contract awarded by the County for addressing conflicts with wildlife explicitly incorporate the following principles and elements:
- Coexistence between humans and wildlife is the paramount goal.
- Proactive, non-lethal measures to resolve ongoing problems and avoid conflict are prioritized.
- Native wildlife are killed only as a last resort, as humanely as possible, and every kill is carefully documented.
- Cruel and indiscriminate methods of capturing and killing wildlife are prohibited.
- Implementation of this contract must be accountable and transparent to the public.
- Prioritize non-lethal methods
For each request for assistance, at least two attempts to resolve the problem using non-lethal methods are required before resorting to lethal methods, unless human health and safety are at risk.
- Prohibited practices
Aerial gunning is prohibited. This is a costly and wasteful use of public resources.
Leghold traps and snares are prohibited. These methods are inhumane, indiscriminate, and a public safety hazard. All leghold traps, even those with offset jaws as used by Wildlife Services, cause enormous stress and often injury to the captured animal.
Poisons (including M44 sodium cyanide devices) are prohibited for use as control methods. These devices are inhumane, indiscriminate, potentially cause secondary poisoning to other animals, and are a public safety hazard. Because M44s are designed to attract canids, the potential for accidental poisoning of foxes and dogs is high. Between 2010-2017, there were 338 non target animals killed by M44s in New Mexico by Wildlife Services.
- Public Outreach
At least five percent of county funds allocated for any contract should be devoted to proactive outreach programs to educate large numbers of the public about how to coexist with wild animals and avoid conflicts.
- Accountability Measures
A detailed annual budget should be provided to the county, and posted on the County’s website, including salaries, benefits, vehicle expenses, administrative and training expenses, tools and expendable items/supplies.
An annual report should be provided to the county, and posted on the County’s website, detailing the results of a statistically valid data collection effort to determine rates of infection, by species and disease, in animals captured through contractual activities in Dona Ana county.
- Quarterly reports should be submitted to the County and posted on the County’s website, that include the following:
the type of land upon which contractual activities were carried out on;
the number of hours worked per employee;
the number and types of animals captured, by which method, whether targeted or unintentional capture, location and land ownership type (i.e. private, city, state, EBID, BLM, etc.) and final disposition of the animal;
the number of requests for assistance, involving which species, for which reason (livestock protection, health, safety, nuisance, property protection, etc.), by land ownership type, including repeat requests by the same entity;
the number and type of outreach efforts completed, including estimated number of people reached, intended to educate large numbers of the public about how to coexist with wild animals and avoid conflicts.
More information – The People Have Spoken: Treat our Wildlife with Respect and Compassion
Act now – Action alert and click-to-send response
Featured image from Predator Defense