Panel Issues Preliminary Findings
The People's Forum Panel on Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico issued an online survey, for the period Oct. 5 to Nov. 5, intended to engage all members of the public on the issue of trapping. More than 2,400 citizens took the survey and the results showed that 90 percent were opposed to public lands trapping.
Results of the survey show that:
- More than two-thirds of the survey takers indicated that they were New Mexico residents (66 percent). Nearly 95 percent of respondents indicated that they were registered voters.
- Wildlife watching was the predominant public lands activity (66 percent) that respondents undertake, followed by hiking, skiing and snowshoeing (58 percent).
- Over 80 percent of respondents indicated they take pleasure from viewing and want to see bobcats and Mexican wolves conserved.
"After hearing the testimony in September and seeing the results from this month's survey, it is clear that the people of New Mexico oppose the use of traps on public lands," said Peggy Nelson, a retired state court judge, who chaired the people's forum panel.
The panel announced the survey through a press release. Several news outlets featured the survey story, including the Albuquerque Journal, Farmington Daily Times, Santa Fe New Mexican and Silver City Sun-News. Additionally, public notices of the survey ran in the Albuquerque Alibi and Santa Fe Reporter.
The panel plans to issue a formal report and findings sometime in January.
On Sept. 14, 2011, the TrapFreeNM Coalition (WildEarth Guardians, Sierra Club, Animal Protection of New Mexico and Born Free USA) held the People's Forum in Albuquerque. A panel of seven citizens with a history of community and civic involvement took recorded testimony at a public hearing organized by four non-governmental organizations.
Nearly 140 people attended, and 40 testified, including Dr. Robert Harrison, a small-carnivore expert. Panel members determined they needed to allow additional public comments for the people who could not attend the event and could have their voices heard.
The panel consists of:
- The Hon. Judge Peggy Nelson, chairwoman of the panel
- Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane/New Mexico
- Nathan Cote, former state representative
- Oscar Simpson, former state Department of Game and Fish commissioner and "sportsman"
- Kathleen Holian, Santa Fe County commissioner
- Martha Marks, Republicans for Environmental Protection
- Kathy Sedlacek, New Mexico Mountain Club