“The young prairie dog was curious about the noise outside his burrow, and he ventured up and out. We had been there for hours, trying to make enough scary noises and hoping to keep the little dogs in their homes, safe from the violence. But our voices were hoarse and no longer effective. Through binoculars, I watched–helplessly–as his soft brown fur exploded into a spray of red and just like that, he was gone forever.
–A witness to a prairie dog shooting contest, Nucla, Colorado, 1987
Last week, an unknown number of prairie dogs were mercilessly killed in an appalling statewide thrill-killing contest, sponsored by the same business that organized a similar, widely criticized November 2012 contest glorifying the slaughter of coyotes. In both cases, the objective of the competition is to shoot and collect the most animals within a given time to win a prize. Simply put, these revolting contests and others like them that continue to occur frequently around the West can only be described as greed-driven slaughter.
These killing contest are the ugliest expression of our society’s relationship with animals, exploiting lack of protections for certain beings for a celebration of the act of killing. Now, with two such events garnering national and international coverage in less than a year, it could not be more apparent that we as New Mexicans must stop this sadistic activity to preserve the integrity of our state as well as the important lives being extinguished.
During the 2013 legislative session, Rep. Nathan Cote (D-Organ) sponsored House Bill 316, Stop Coyote Killing Contests, the first-ever serious legislative challenge to the heinous practice. The bill passed out of committee and reached the House for a full vote by all Representatives, failing to pass on a vote of 30-38. If just five legislators had voted differently, the bill would have passed the House.
Misinformation and obstructionism temporarily carried the day on the floor of the House, but the animals are counting on all of us to keep fighting.
Legislative action is key. Animal Protection Voters recently released the 2013 Legislative Scorecard (available for download here). Find out how your Representative voted on House Bill 316 and other animal legislation. From there, get involved in ensuring your State Legislators are representing our community values of basic human decency and compassion with the following steps:
Request a meeting with your State Representative to discuss the HB 316 vote and the dire need to stop all thrill-killing contests in New Mexico. Find contact information for your Rep here
- Thank Representative Nate Cote for his dedicated efforts to stop thrill-killing contests. Read his recent op-ed here and send him an email saying THANK YOU!
- Organize for animal issues in your legislative district. Talk to friends, family, and your community about why you’re fed up with allowing our wild animals to be slaughtered without oversight, our public safety to be threatened by thrill-killing contests, and our national reputation to be dragged through the mud. One great tool for organizing is the New Mexicans Against Killing Contests petition, available to print from our website.
- Contact Animal Protection Voters to pledge to be involved in legislative issues and please consider a donation to help APV’s year-round efforts.
As always, if you have any questions about thrill-killing contests or legislative action for animals in your community, please contact us.
Tips for Citizen Lobbyists
Albuquerque Journal letters: Rallying around the prairie dog
Carlsbad Current-Argus: Rep Nate Cote: Reconsider prairie dog killing contest
Santa Fe New Mexican: Reader view: Prairie dog contest reveals inhumanity