Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB 75
Summary: Sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart, SB 75 makes the sale or purchase of covered animal species, parts, or products a misdemeanor. In addition, the responsible party can be sued in district court for a penalty of up to $25,000 or three times the value of the sale. The act includes exemptions for a) guns and musical instruments, b) members of Indian nations, tribes, or pueblos, and c) educational and scientific institutions and d) other situations. Species covered are named by the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, federal law, or state law. SB 75 would become effective July 1, 2020.
History: The bill was introduced as SB 81 in 2017 by Mimi Stewart and Gail Chasey. It was pocket vetoed by Gov. Martinez. It was reintroduced as SB 38 in 2019 and passed the Senate 26:15. SB 38 passed two House committees but never made it to the House Floor, possibly due to lack of time.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- According to a 2015 study by Defenders of Wildlife, El Paso and Nogales, Arizona are the busiest ports of entry for illegally trafficked wildlife goods. New Mexico has no Fish & Wildlife agents posted at our ports of entry, but it is suspected that illegal wildlife trafficking occurs at NMs ports of entry as well. This bill will make such trafficking illegal in NM.
- Center for Immigration Studies research finds that illegal wildlife trafficking to the U.S. is closely tied to criminal networks involved in illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Animal smugglers and human smugglers are often connected to the same cartels and travel the same routes.
- Mexico, on the southern border of our state, is the second highest exporter of illegal wildlife in the world. Over one-quarter of all animal products and live animals smuggled into the U.S. come from Latin America, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, making the southern border a hot-spot for wildlife seizures.
- The United States is one of the largest consumers of illegal wildlife and wildlife products in the world. Making wildlife trafficking illegal in New Mexico can help to combat this threat to wildlife in general and endangered species in particular.
- According to WildAid, an international wildlife protection organization, 80% of Americans consider themselves wildlife lovers or conservationists, yet 4 out of 5 know little or nothing about wildlife trafficking. As a result, the issue does not getting the attention it deserves.
Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Wild Earth Guardians, SPCA