The State Legislature convened once again on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 for its “long” 60-day session—the biannual opportunity to approve new laws or change old ones, impacting the lives of everyone in New Mexico.
While some pieces of legislation have already been filed, most bills are still being developed and finalized before being introduced. That includes policies that would establish important protections for animals. Animal Protection Voters has been working diligently on several bills that we hope to see introduced in the coming days, including:
- Making Animal Sexual Abuse (Bestiality) Illegal – New Mexico is one of only 2 states where sexual abuse of an animal is not illegal (the other is West Virginia). Bestiality is not only harmful to animals, but it is also linked to child sexual abuse, child pornography, and other types of violence and exploitation. We must ensure that animal sexual abuse is treated as a serious crime.
- Promoting Humane Management of Free-Roaming Horses – New Mexico is home to countless free-roaming horses, often cherished by communities, but in some areas they are facing degraded habitat, conflicts, and lack of food and water. The state law that covers free-roaming horse management needs to be fixed to fulfill its original goal of humanely and responsibly managing these horses.
- Ensuring Homeless Horses Are Rescued, Not Slaughtered – Equines sold at auction are vulnerable to kill-buyers from the horse slaughter industry. We should allow our state’s registered equine shelters to have first right of refusal, before auction, to take in homeless horses and other equines to be rehabilitated and adopted into loving homes.
- Protecting Companion Animals Threatened by Domestic Violence – The Family Violence Protection Act should recognize animal abuse with the intent to harm or intimidate someone as a type of domestic abuse, as well as ensure companion animals can be included in protective orders—both measures that protect domestic violence victims and their beloved animals by facilitating their swift and safe escape from abuse.
- Funding for Domestic Violence Services for Animals – The Legislature is tasked with allocating state dollars toward programs and projects, and we will advocate for additional funding for services that support domestic violence victims and their animals seeking safety, such as APNM’s CARE (Companion Animal Rescue Effort) program services.
- Modernizing the State Agencies that Manage Wildlife – We continue to support updating the name, mission, and scope of the NM Department of Game & Fish and State Game Commission to reflect updated understandings of ecosystems and values, and to identify adequate and equitable funding sources for non-game and endangered species protection.
These topics only scratch the surface. We know many other bills relating to the treatment of New Mexico’s animals are being prepared, and we stand ready to support humane legislation and oppose measures that will harm animals or undo progress made for animals and the people who care about them.
Ready to take action for animals?
Please remember to register for our Animal Protection Lobby Day in-person in Santa Fe on Tuesday, January 31st! That will be your chance to visit your State Senator’s and State Representative’s offices in support of pro-animal bills and join us for a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda.
One day before this event, on January 30th, we’ll host a virtual Grassroots Lobbyist Training online via Zoom, so that you receive the latest updates on animal-related bills and feel ready to arrive at the Capitol and make a difference.
It’s your support that makes all of this work possible. Thank you for being an animal protection voter, and stay tuned for more legislative updates!