Animal Damage Control thrown out of New Mexico: WOULDN’T CHECK TRAPS
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1992:
ALBUQUERQUE – –Living up to an old
promise, State Land Commissioner James Baca on
November 16 evicted the federal Animal Damage
Control program from New Mexico because the adminis-
trators wouldn’t agree to make ADC coyote trappers
check their traps at least once every 48 hours.
The eviction order covers six to eight million
acres of state-owned land, much of which is leased to
sheep and cattle ranchers. As environmental and animal
protection groups applauded, ranching groups called for
Baca said his long-pending decision was irrevo-
cable. “They’re off state land and good riddance,” he
told the Albuquerque Journal. “I don’t like the idea of
them doing their work anyway,” he added.
Initially, Baca just wanted the ADC trappers to
reduce their “incidental” killing of other species. ADC
trapping records indicate leghold traps set for coyotes
routinely cause fatal injuries to 21 other kinds of animal,
some of them endangered––and that coyotes actually
account for only 15 to 20% of the animals caught. Baca
also expressed concern for animal suffering, as well as
skepticism that trapping really prevents coyote predation.
Last year Baca asked the ADC to check trap
lines every 24 hours. He later agreed to make it every 48
hours, after the New Mexico Game and Fish
Commission adopted a 48-hour checking requirement.
But the ADC said its trappers couldn’t check traps more
often than every 72 hours.
“It’s time to throw them off,” Baca decided.
Within 24 hours, the Game and Fish
Commission strengthened his position by imposing a 24-
hour checking requirement.
The ADC, an arm of the USDA, killed 2.5
million animals in 1991, including 96,000 coyotes, at
cost of $25.8 million.