Woodland stream.

New Mexico Game Commission stifles public opposition to help trophy hunters kill more lions

Over the jeering protest of several hundred wildlife activists, the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved their state game agency's recommendation to allow the trapping of mountain lions on private and state trust lands.

Observers of this blatant betrayal of the public trust knew from the start that this particular outcome was a forgone conclusion and that the "game" was rigged in favor of trophy hunters and a few moneyed interests.

The first sign that the fix was in came when Paul M. Kienzle III, the Commission's Chair tried to reduce the number of opponents by claiming that the crowd of concerned citizens exceeded the meeting room's capacity and refused entry to a large portion of the attending animal protection activists. Loud objections from those already in the room forced Kienzle to reverse his decision and allow the rest of the standing-room-only crowd to enter.

Then, just prior to the public comment period, one of the commissioners called for a vote on the issue. Once again protest from the crowd caused the commission to reverse itself.

However, despite the commission's desire to give the appearance that they were willing to listen to the public, they were unwilling to spend a lot of time doing so. Consequently, in the name of "fairness," the commission limited the time allowed for public comment to one-hour and split that time period evenly between opposing sides. Thus the 300 wildlife activists were restricted to the same 30 minutes of testimony that the 15 or so hunters and ranchers received.

In the end, the commissioners did what they apparently planned to do all along and voted to accept the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's recommendations without changes to the rules.

Mountain lions can now be trapped without a permit anywhere in New Mexico except on federally owned lands.



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