Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Mexico Needs Another Vision for Horses OP-Ed by Senator Mary Jane Garcia (D-Doña Ana-36)

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Photo above from the site America's Horse Daily

Since serving in the New Mexico legislature starting in 1988, I’ve considered it my duty to stand up for our state’s many vulnerable populations, particularly children and animals. The common denominator in the challenges I’ve faced has been the predictable and tired refrain of those who can’t picture things being different. The pushback has always been fierce. This is especially true with the systematic cruelty being inflicted on horses today.

Thanks to heart wrenching but honest exposés that have recently uncovered one after another tragedy involving horses in our state, the public wants change. One thing is clear: even though some of us have heard these concerns in one form or another for decades, we are on the edge of a shift in thinking regarding horses. That’s why plenty of people are fighting back against that shift.

Is it really that hard to understand that horse slaughter is not and cannot be humane? No matter where it’s done, saying horse slaughter is less cruel in one country compared to another is missing the point. Simply put, horses flee when they’re frightened, and those who defend U.S. horse slaughter should watch videos of it that are easily available online. The panic, fear and pain are unbearable to watch.


The phrase, “if we build it, they will come,” would have severe unintended consequences as a horse slaughter plant anywhere in New Mexico would encourage uncontrolled over breeding of horses. The obscene incentives to breed, ship and kill would be substantial.

Eighty percent of Americans are opposed to slaughtering horses for food. Add to that the fact that American horses are routinely injected with drugs such as “bute,” (a horse medication known to be unfit for human consumption) makes me very apprehensive with horse meat being used as a food source.

Furthermore, establishing New Mexico as a horse slaughter haven will do irreparable damage to the unique brand of our state. We all can agree that New Mexico’s brand is remarkably unique with all of the heritage and culture that make up our beautiful state. Yet, a horse slaughter plant is likely to be an unwanted distraction from what our state genuinely has to offer. Do we really want to be known as the epicenter of something so inhumane? One economic step forward might mean two steps back if our state becomes renowned for such appalling treatment of the noble American horse.

Like other New Mexican leaders and so many of my constituents who have contacted me about the horse slaughterhouse proposal, I know we can use our God-given intelligence and imagination to create lasting and humane solutions for horses. A system already exists to help our communities’ dogs and cats. It is more than possible to do the same for horses. Model programs already exist that provide feed assistance, shelter, adoption and yes, humane euthanasia.

Horses are suffering; I see it when I travel around New Mexico. I know that we as New Mexicans can do better than this. Please join the strong chorus of individuals opposing cruel treatment of horses and let’s create solutions for horses that will make us all proud

May 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM in Animal Protection, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Study Confirms What New Mexicans Have Known for Years - Most Medical Research on Chimpanzees is Unnecessary

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Meet Flo

Flo is 54 years old and is one of 170 chimps still at the Alamogordo Primate Facility. Her medical history dates back to 1972, see this link for an Overview of Flo's Medical Records. She was anesthetized for blood draws countless times, she had four babies all taken from her right away so they could be used for other often needless research, and she had several escape attempts during one of which she was shot.

On December 15, 2011 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report: Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity. to read the IOM summary and report follow this link. Our NM Senators who were leading the charge for the chimps retirement and the people speaking out against more research for chimps like Flo, followed up with a letter to the NIH requesting the report be adhered to, DFNM has a separate post of the Senator's statements regarding the report.

Guest Blog from Laura Bonar:

Following is a guest blog from Laura Bonar, Program Director of Animal Protection of New Mexico(APNM). APNM and Laura were instrumental in getting the Alamagordo chimps a repreive from more hedious testing. APNM sees more lies and falsehoods within the NIH document released in response to the report from IOM,  Download Chimp Study Reveals NIH Deception.

For nearly two decades, Animal Protection of New Mexico has been working to protect New Mexico's chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, from abuse in government-funded research. Last year's announcement that the federal government wanted to force 200 sick, ailing chimps into more testing and put an end to jobs in our state prompted a massive public outcry. The Institute of Medicine's chimp study results, actions from our elected leaders, and agency response show that when people commit to work together, we can accomplish meaningful change!

Finally, an independent study confirms what New Mexicans have known for years: most medical research on chimpanzees is unnecessary, and there is little to no relevance for chimps in research in this day and age. The National Institutes of Health has suspended funding for all future chimp research projects and will reevaluate all current funding.

We cannot rest until 54-year-old Flo and her colleagues are permanently retired and wasteful spending on cruel, ineffective research is ended. Thank you especially to Senator Tom Udall for leading the request for an independent study on the need for chimp research and for this week signing on to cosponsor the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act! Senator Jeff Bingaman supported these efforts and joined with Senator Udall to urge the NIH to adopt report recommendations and protect New Mexico's chimps from further harm. Congressman Martin Heinrich sponsored the bill even before tremendous public outcry and was a consistent and outspoken champion, and Congressman Ben Ray Luján spoke out in 2010 and cosponsored legislation in 2011. Without the diplomacy and commitment of Governor Bill Richardson to stand up to the National Institutes of Health in 2010, this historic moment would not have been possible.

But this stepping stone for chimps and effective medical research is truly a people's victory. Public support should bring political support, God bless the optimists among us who won't give up even in bleak times!

Other Good Coverage

Here is a good article and video summarizing the years long effort of saving the chimps by our local KRQE.

And on a national level an article in Discover Magazine. A wonderful realization is stated in the Discover Mag article: "The recommendation is a reflection of our growing realization that chimps may be capable of self-awareness, empathy, grief, and happiness, and may possess basic morality as well as a culture; Brandon Keim, who has covered chimp research extensively for Wired, notes that some scientists have begun to think they should qualify as nonhuman people. Subjecting them to disease, pain, and psychological trauma in the service of research thus has grown to seem ethically dubious, especially after it was revealed that the NIH planned to send 209 chimps who had been allowed to retire from medical research back into the lab and that an NIH division had illegally bred captive chimpanzees." DFNM suggests following many of these links they are very interesting and informative.

December 17, 2011 at 09:36 AM in Animal Protection, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, Regulation | Permalink | Comments (3)

N.M. Senators React to Report on Use of Chimpanzees in Research

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U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall welcomed news that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will adopt new guidelines outlined in a new scientific report that greatly limit the circumstances under which chimpanzees can be used for research.

At the request of New Mexico’s senators and Senator Tom Harkin, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies undertook a comprehensive study about whether chimpanzees are still necessary for health research. The expert report, released publicly today, concluded that testing on chimpanzees is largely no longer necessary, however, very limited circumstances exist where it may still be beneficial.

On the heels of being briefed about the report findings on Tuesday, Bingaman and Udall wrote to the National Institute of Health Director Francis Collins urging the prompt adoption of the IOM's new recommendations. The senators also told Dr. Collins they hoped that, in light of the new report, the chimpanzees in Alamogordo will be excluded from further testing. The Senator's letter is at the end of this post.

The Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) has worked tirelessly for the stopping of the testing on Chimpanzees at New Mexico's Alamagordo Primate Facility . APNM's website states their mission: "APNM's mission is to advocate the rights of animals by effecting systemic change, resulting in the humane treatment of all animals."

Laura Bonar, APNM Program Director had this to say about the report, “This represents years of effort with many dedicated New Mexicans working together to protect these chimpanzees. It also shows the power of the people when working together in a meaningful way the success that can be achieved."

The Senator's letter follows:

December 14, 2011

Dear Director Collins:

We are writing regarding the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research,” which our offices were briefed on earlier this week. We appreciate the support you and the NIH staff have dedicated to this issue following our request for the study.

The IOM report recommends the National Institutes of Health adopt strict criteria for evaluating future proposals to use chimpanzees in biomedical, genomics, or behavioral research programs. These criteria would significantly reduce the need for chimpanzees in health research. We ask you to promptly adopt these recommendations.

In addition, we hope that you will find that the chimpanzees in Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) should be excluded from research after you evaluate them in light of these new criteria. For example, the report notes that one of the few areas of biomedical research where chimpanzees may still be needed is to evaluate the effectiveness of prophylactic vaccines for the hepatitis C virus, the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. However, many of the APF chimpanzees are already infected with the hepatitis C virus and therefore may not be suitable for evaluating the effectiveness of a prophylactic vaccine for this virus.

Although the report cautions against imposing an immediate ban on the use of chimpanzees in research, it clearly highlights that the need for using chimpanzees in testing has greatly diminished. Specifically the report states “[t]he present trajectory indicates a decreasing scientific need for chimpanzee studies due to the emergence of non-chimpanzee models and technologies.” With that in mind, we ask that you support funding for these technologies that further diminish the need to use chimpanzees in biomedical research.

Thank you for consideration of these matters.

Sincerely, 

Jeff Bingaman, United States Senator  

Tom Udall, United States Senator  

December 17, 2011 at 09:22 AM in Animal Protection, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Feds Support More Cruel Tests on the Alamogordo Chimpanzees

Flo_alamogordo_1Following is a statement released by the Animal Protection of New Mexico. Regarding how the NIH mislead th public about the Chimp Program. The image to the right is Flo the oldest chimpanzee at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico, she is 53.

Government records reveal that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has continued to support invasive tests on the nearly 200 surviving Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees.

Despite the NIH's written statement "the Alamogordo chimpanzees will not be used in invasive research."

Documents recently reviewed by Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) show the NIH approved a five-year, multimillion-dollar grant this past September to use all of the federally-owned chimps from New Mexico’s Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) in cruel, invasive tests at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed).

In January 2011 the NIH told the public that the future management of the APF chimpanzees would be determined after the release of an independent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on the need for chimps in research. The IOM’s report is expected out by the end of the year. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) formally requested an independent report on chimp research in December 2010, after months of passionate, public outcry and calls from dozens of leaders to protect the aging, ill chimps at the Alamogordo Primate Facility.

The NIH’s Health Science Administrator, Dr. Harold Watson, has evaded APNM’s questions about what taxpayer resources have already been allocated for NIH’s planned move of the chimpanzees from New Mexico. Watson misled APF employees last year, stating that there is a steady need for chimps in research and citing “empty space” at other labs as reasons why the Alamogordo Primate Facility had to be closed.

But U.S. chimp researchers, Dr. Thomas Rowell and Dr. Robert Purcell, testified before the IOM committee studying the need for chimps in research about the declining use of chimps in research over the past five years. Meanwhile, the Texas Biomed grant details how NIH funded the lab with a construction grant, facilities improvement grant, and supplements “in anticipation of the acquisition of the chimpanzees from APF.”

“The New Mexico chimps have fueled a national debate on how our country spends limited research dollars and why we can no longer justify using these sensitive, intelligent, traumatized individuals in invasive research,” said Laura Bonar, program director for APNM. “The NIH’s support of more painful, unnecessary tests on these chimps harms all Americans, and New Mexicans in particular.”

The NIH’s closure of the APF would mean a loss of at least $25 million to the local economy over the next ten years and unemployment for dozens of longtenured staff.

Captive chimps in New Mexico date back to the U.S. Air Force’s shipment of 65 infant chimpanzees taken from West Africa to Holloman Air Force Base in 1959. Chimps were initially used for the space program, then bred, leased and sold to a variety of institutions. Since 2001 the chimps have been free from invasive tests at the APF.

Texas Biomed’s grant application lists procedures planned for the New Mexico chimps over the next five years, including bone and lymph node biopsies, cerebrospinal fluid taps, serial sedations, hepatic injections, and vaginal and tracheal washes.

John VandeBerg, Principal Investigator on the Texas Biomed grant, would have final say to use even the most elderly and sick chimps in testing. VandeBerg states he aims, “to conduct research with the…chimpanzees…leading to increased use of the resource by investigators from across the country.”

“The NIH would see chimps like 54-year-old Flo suffer terribly simply because someone can still make money off her frail, broken body,” said Bonar. “Clearly, the chimps at the Alamogordo Primate Facility need to be permanently retired. The public deserves better than this plan that wastes millions of tax dollars to cruelly torture chimps.”

The December 1, 2011, Alamogordo Primate Facility Update is attached here. This lays out an abbreviated description of the most recent hedious path we humans have put on these lifes.

December 6, 2011 at 06:36 AM in Action Alerts, Animal Protection | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

ABQ Animal Welfare Desperately Needs Homes for Cats: Can You Help?

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Please help spread the word about a desperate situation that has developed at The Cattery at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare shelter. The Cattery is facing a much larger population of cats than it can possibly deal with. I've gotten several emails about this, and local news programs have reportedly ignored requests to air this message. The shelter simply cannot handle any more cats, and needs additional support from the community. Please do what you can:

The Inn is Full
The Cattery at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department is nearly full. Last weekend they received 121 cats. Animal Welfare’s ability to house and care for such a large number of cats is approaching capacity, and they are in need of assistance.

The total number of cats has reached over 500, and while their cat adoptions are up 23 percent, as compared to this same time frame last year for the month of September, cats have come in at a higher-than-normal rate. In the month of September alone, an average of 35 cats per day was brought into the shelter. This new daily average for the month of September is greater than the average daily intake for the past year by 8 animals. This upward trend pushed even higher in the last week of September -- reaching an average daily intake high of 38 cats.

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Spay and Neuter Your Pets Please!
The shelter said the message it wants to emphasize is that while they endeavor to adopt out every animal they take in, they also ask that the public act responsibly by participating in the spay-neuter program at Animal Welfare, or in other programs supported by other animal facilities of their choice. Failure to spay or neuter pets brings uncertainty in the lives of these wonderful animals.

October: Half-Price Adoption Fees
Animal Welfare is also asking the members of the community to open their hearts and homes by adopting one or two of these wonderful felines today. During the entire month of October, adoption fees for cats will be half the usual price. Senior Citizens (50 years of age and up according to AARP) and all Veterans with proper identification and documentation get an additional $10.00 discount from the above fees.

Each adoption will include spaying or neutering, all vaccinations required by law and a microchip. For information visit the shelter's web site at www.cabq.gov/pets. Also check out Animal Welfare's Facebook page.

October 5, 2011 at 09:45 AM in 2010 Judicial Races, Animal Protection | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

9/14: People's Forum on Public Lands Trapping at Wool Warehouse, ABQ

From WildEarth Guardians:
Please join us for The People's Forum on Public Lands Trapping on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at The Wool Warehouse, 516 First Street NW in Albuquerque. The Forum is an opportunity for the entire New Mexican public to add their voice to the debate over public lands trapping in New Mexico. The event will feature a citizen panel, who will listen to the broad public, and educational materials from TrapFreeNM.org. Film crews will record this public hearing.

The panel will feature:

  • The Hon. Judge Peggy Nelson, Chairwoman of the Panel
  • Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane | New Mexico
  • Nathan Cote, Former State Representative
  • Oscar Simpson, former Game Commissioner and hunter
  • Kathleen Holian, Santa Fe County Commissioner
  • Martha Marks, Republicans for Environmental Protection
  • Kathy Sedlacek, New Mexico Mountain Club
  • Helga Schimkat, Attorney

This summer, New Mexicans generated over 12,000 comments to the Department of Game and Fish that requested a trap ban on public lands. Yet, the New Mexico Game Commission ignored this appeal. On July 21 it expanded trapping across New Mexico, and even lifted the trapping closure in the range of the Mexican wolf.

People, pets, and wildlife were shut out from the Game Commission’s recent decision to expand trapping ... and so were you. It’s now your turn to be heard. Please come out and express your views on trapping before a panel of New Mexico community leaders.

The People’s Forum on Public Lands Trapping: because it’s your turn to be heard. To get more information or to RSVP, call 505-988-9126, email wendy@wildearthguardians.org, or visit this Facebook event page.

September 7, 2011 at 01:20 PM in Animal Protection, Events | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animal Protection Voters Endorses Marty Chavez for Congress in NM-01

MartyChavez4CR Animal Protection Voters (APV) released a statement today saying it is "proud to announce its endorsement of Marty Chavez for U.S. Congress-District 1 in New Mexico. Marty Chavez has been an outspoken and determined leader for animal protection issues, both when he served in the New Mexico Senate and throughout his tenure as Mayor of Albuquerque."

Laura Bonar, Program Director for Animal Protection Voters, said, “Marty Chavez’s leadership on animal protection issues in New Mexico is so substantial that when serving as Mayor of Albuquerque, he was given Animal Protection of New Mexico’s highly competitive Advocacy Milagro Award in 2004." The Advocacy Milagro Award is given for promoting the compassionate treatment of animals.

Bonar continued, “Marty Chavez’s extraordinary efforts on behalf of New Mexico’s animals is a lengthy and substantial list of accomplishments that includes protecting prairie dogs, lobbying for antifreeze safety for animals and children, promoting spay/neuter programs, lobbying for a ban on cockfighting, challenging the mistreatment of former research chimpanzees, highlighting issues of animal cruelty with the public and insisting on creating and adequately funding an Animal Welfare Department within the city of Albuquerque. New Mexico voters who care about animals won’t find a better candidate for Congressional District 1 than Marty Chavez.”

APV pointed out that Marty Chavez got his start in public animal advocacy efforts in 1997 when he worked with actor and animal advocate, Kim Basinger, to challenge the appalling treatment of animals in circuses, after Albuquerque police found an elephant dead in a cramped and sweltering semitrailer. Since then, circuses with animals have not been welcome in Albuquerque venues.

“Marty Chavez understands that our society is better off when we treat the most vulnerable among us with respect and kindness. Animal Protection Voters looks forward to having Marty Chavez serve in the U.S. Congress, fighting hard for New Mexicans and the humane values we cherish,” added APV’s Executive Director, Elisabeth Jennings.

APV added that New Mexicans support lawmakers and other elected officials who respect the role that animals play in all our lives. Many citizens believe the government should play an active role in ensuring that animals receive humane care and protection from cruelty and exploitation. Animal Protection Voters, the political voice for people who care about animals, works to build political capital for animal advocacy across New Mexico.

For more posts on the NM-01 congressional race, visit our archive.

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

August 23, 2011 at 05:18 PM in Animal Protection, Martin Chavez, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Animal Protection Voters Endorses Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate

Yesterday, Animal Protection Voters (APV) released the following statement endorsing Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate, saying he "has a proven and substantial record of both leadership on and support of animal protection issues" like these:

• When serving on the Albuquerque City Council, Heinrich was a leading advocate for wildlife, environmental protection, and companion animals;

• In the U.S. Congress, Martin has fought to protect the jobs, chimpanzees, and federal dollars at the Alamogordo Primate Facility on Holloman Air Force Base from leaving New Mexico. He is an original cosponsor of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011; he cosponsored a bill to ban horse slaughter and has voted in support of service dogs for Veterans, to ban animal “crush” videos, and against environmental exemptions for the largest factory farms in the United States;

• Martin responds generously and strategically to constituents who care about the humane treatment of animals.

“Martin has taken his signature approach of creating collaborations among parties to solve difficult problems from New Mexico to Washington, D.C.,” said Laura Bonar, Program Director for Animal Protection Voters. “Voters appreciate his diligent work for basic human decency and compassion toward animals.”

APV noted that New Mexicans value legislators and other elected officials who respect the role that animals play in all our lives. Many citizens believe the government should play an active role in ensuring that animals receive humane care and protection from cruelty and exploitation.

Animal Protection Voters, the political voice for people who care about animals, works to build political capital for animal advocacy across New Mexico.

June 29, 2011 at 08:59 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Animal Protection, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wildlife Advocates in Las Cruces Call for Better Protection for Wolves But Game Commission Suspends Program


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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

Note: Despite this demonstration and major support from New Mexicans in many walks of life, the New Mexico State Game Commission voted unanimously today to suspend the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction program in the state.

A large group of  supporters of wildlife protection rallied outside the at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces Wednesday prior to a field meeting of the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission. The gathering urged the Commission to take a greater role in protecting the Mexican gray wolf in southwestern New Mexico. Only a small population of about fifty wolves survive in the wild, concentrated in the natural habitat of the Gila National Forest.

State Representative Antonio Luján of Las Cruces (D-35) addressed the gathering from the rear bed of a pickup truck outside the Museum prior to the Commission's field meeting. "As you know the Mexican Gray Wolf is on the brink of extinction, only about fifty remain in the wild, and yet the fish and game service continue a policy of hunting and trapping. In recent times no wolf has been shot or trapped in the wild for three years. This shows that that a program of hunting and trapping is unnecessary."

"No wolf has been shot or trapped in the wild for three years," Luján said. "This shows that that a program of hunting and trapping is unnecessary. The fish and wildlife service should continue to work to reduce the conflict between wolf protection advocates and owners of livestock. Both belong in the Southwest. Wolves are essential to the ecosystem. It is vital that they be protected under the endangered species Act. The recovery and protection of wolves should be based on science and not politics," Luján said.

Luján poined out that, "Less than 1% of all livestock loss is due to wolves. Most is caused be disease, accidents and bad weather." He urged the Fish and Game Commission to take a more proactive stance in protecting the wolf. "Once the grey wolf population is restored, scientists have shown they will play a central part in the overall well being of the southwest ecology, just as the restoration of the wolf population has resulting in many positive changes in Yellowstone National Park," Luján said. "Wolves have a right to the ecosystem, and we should be supportive of that."

Carol Fugali, a resident of the Gila Valley outside Silver City, said her family chose to move to the Valley because of the rich biodiversity and quality of life of both the forest region and its neighboring human community provide eleven years ago. She told the crowd that her family has been "both thrilled and pleased to witness the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf into the Gila Valley first hand. "Our family members are avid hikers and backpackers," she said. "As neighbors of such a rich environment, we understand how important it is for all of us to be grounded as human beings with such a rich community environment."

To protect that natural heritage of her region, Fugali urged the Game Commission members to "allow the natural systems to evolve," adding, "our natural systems are far superior to any human management system."

Jim Bates, a Las Cruces area sportsman who also addressed the crowd outside the Farm and Ranch Museum, urged caution in implementing a gray wolf protection policy. "While I understand and support the reintroduction and protection of wolves," Bates said, "we need to remember that our wild areas are also important to others. There are many hunters and sportsmen who are uneasy about the gray wolf protection program and therefore oppose it. I do stand here speaking for those sportsmen who understand that the Mexican Wolf should also have its place in the natural areas that have always been its home. Wolves belong and can co-exist with the varying interests of man," Bates said.

""The reintroduction of the wolves should go on," Bates continued, "but in making these statements, I want to also make it clear what the expectations of sportsmen will be. Sportsmen around America are the reason that many of our wilderness protection programs exist today. So, I caution that there are those who wish to use the protection of wildlife as an excuse to remove hunters from the equation." Bates called supporters of the protection of wolves not to support "an extreme protective agenda," and let "their emotions get ahead of reality."

Janet Blurton, the owner and operator of KOA Campground in Silver City, told the gathering that she had left a job in the city for a better quality of life near the National Forest, and built a thriving business by bringing people together with the wilderness. "Imagine how good for business, mine and those of my neighbors in the community, a healthy wolf population in Southwestern New Mexico can be," she said. "The reintroduction and protection of wolves is part of a big picture, and we are all a part of that."

State Representative Luján called on advocates of both sides to act with civility on the issue. "Just in general," he said, "I have a concern about increasing polarization. We need to be reasonable. As a community and a nation we need to find common ground and engage in reasonable dialog. We need to retain respect for one another," Luján said.

Wednesday's rally was supported by the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces, among others. Many of the attendees remained to give testimony urging the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission to act for protection of the remaining wolf population.

To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

June 10, 2011 at 02:43 PM in Animal Protection, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Environment, Events, Las Cruces | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can You Help? Special Mother-Daughter Dogs Need Good Home

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Amanda Cooper has been working with CARMA of Corrales, an all volunteer animal rescue group,  on finding a loving home for two very special and deserving canines, and is now asking for our help. The two blue heelers -- mama dog (Ema, 4 years old) and her daughter (Sage, 2 years old) -- were picked up, wandering in Corrales. Unbelievably, their former owner purposely abused and blinded Ema -- and now her daughter, Sage, expertly helps guide her mother around. They're a very close-knit duo, and a very loving one to each other and humans alike. But they need a new home badly and soon. By all accounts they would be wonderful companions for any dog lover.

Amanda reports that they do very well together in dealing with the world despite Ema's blindness, and they're so sweet they'll break your heart. The daughter, Sage, is still very timid but very sweet and good. She'll continue to improve with a bit more loving and understanding care.

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Channel 7 News, KOAT Albuquerque, recently did a story (click to watch the video) on the two dogs, plus the son of Ema. The young male pup has since found a home, but unfortunately Ema and Sage have yet to be fostered or adopted. That's why we're turning to you -- either to adopt the dogs yourself or to help spread the word to people who might be willing to adopt or foster the two sweeties.

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If you or someone you know is interested in learning more or adopting the dogs, please contact CARMA of Corrales. Email Barbaracarma@msn.com or call Barbara at 321-6275. Pass it on!

May 16, 2011 at 06:25 PM in Animal Protection | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Governor Bill Richardson Asks USDA to Investigate Planned Transfer of Alamogordo Chimpanzees

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Mentioned in complaint: Flo, eldest chimpanzee at Alamogordo facility

It's wonderful to see Governor Bill Richardson stay focused and active on this issue: Yesterday, Governor Richardson filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture asking it to stop and investigate the planned transfer of 186 chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility. The National Institutes of Health plans on moving the chimpanzees to a facility in Texas where they will once again be subject to invasive medical testing. The Alamogordo chimpanzees have not had to undergo testing in nearly a decade.

The 10-page  complaint asks the USDA to investigate if the transfer violates the Animal Welfare Act which prohibits the transportation of ill, injured or physically distressed primates. Many of the Alamogordo chimpanzees suffer from serious chronic conditions related to old age and their history as medical test subjects.

 “This is an urgent matter and I am asking the Department of Agriculture to immediately launch an investigation into the proposed transfer of these chimpanzees,” Governor Bill Richardson said in a written statement. “These chimpanzees have already given so much of their lives to medical research, and they should be allowed to permanently retire free from invasive testing.”

“The chimpanzees in Alamogordo are still reeling from the impact of decades of invasive experiments and forced breeding,” said John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “There is no justification for subjecting them to the hazards of transportation and more testing at this stage of their lives -- they simply don’t have the strength to make it through.”

"It is morally wrong to send these long-suffering creatures back into invasive research," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said of the chimpanzees at the Alamogordo Primate Facility. "It is time for the federal government to recognize the service of these animals, retire them, and permanently end their days of isolation and suffering."

"New Mexicans are very troubled that the National Institutes of Health would move these research veterans once more into invasive experiments where they will surely experience further suffering,” said Laura Bonar, R.N., program director for Animal Protection of New Mexico. "Many lives have been touched by these chimps, and the move would negatively impact the local economy, affecting many families with unemployment. Further, the National Institutes of Health intends to spend millions of tax dollars building new housing for the chimps, but tax savings could be had in New Mexico while honoring the concerns of tens of thousands of citizens to permanently retire these chimpanzees."

The chimpanzees have been housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility on Holloman Air Force Base since 2001. According to the agreement with Holloman, no research may be conducted on the primates where they are at the facility. However, NIH’s contract with Charles River Laboratories, which operates the Alamogordo Primate Facility, is set to expire next year and NIH plans to move all the chimpanzees to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, TX.

The transfer of the chimpanzees will also result in the loss of nearly 40 jobs at the Alamogordo Primate Facility.

November 19, 2010 at 11:54 AM in Animal Protection, Gov. Bill Richardson | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

State Rep. Nate Cote Works to Retire Primates at Holloman Air Force Base

Note: The tragic Alamogordo champanzee situation is starting to get national attention and is addressed in an article in today's New York Times.

HCOTE State Rep. Nathan Cote (D-Doña Ana) has taken a leadership role in the effort to preserve the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) at Holloman Air Force Base; an action that would save approximately 40 local jobs and insure the humane treatment of 202 chimpanzees living at the facility. Employees at the APF are facing a personal and professional loss in January 2011 as the National Institute of Health plans to close the facility and ship the resident chimpanzees to a medical research laboratory in Texas.

Chimp “These primates have lived their entire lives on Holloman Air Force Base. This is where the first chimpanzee, Ham, was trained for space flight, paving the way for Alan Shepard in the 1950s,” Rep. Cote said in a statement released today via the New Mexico House of Representatives. “Many of the aging chimps deserve to live out their lives free from invasive research.”

Governor Richardson has shown his support for the APF saying, “These chimpanzees have already given so much of their lives as part of medical research, and they should be able to live out the remainder of their years in peace not being subject to invasive research. I am confident that there is a more prudent and compassionate alternative to the National Institutes of Health’s plan.”

In a letter to Congressman Harry Teague, Michael Espiritu, President and CEO of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce wrote, “I am deeply concerned about the loss of the jobs at the facility. Many of their employees have been long-tenured, faithful and dedicated people who have made a difference in the quality of care for these chimpanzees; descendants of our country’s space exploration and testing program pioneers.”

A letter was drafted to the National Institute of Health describing the devastating economic impact that closing the APF would have on the dozens of highly skilled employees and their families, as well as local small businesses and vendors and it echoed the humane treatment concern as stated by the Governor. The letter also points out that APF was built using millions of taxpayer dollars.

In addition to Rep. Cote, the letter was signed by Representatives Henry “Kiki” Saavedra, Edward Sandoval, Ben Rodefer, Mimi Stewart, Jeff Steinborn, Eleanor Chavez, and Sheryl Stapleton along with Senators Tim Eichenberg, Stephen Fischmann, Sander Rue, Gay Kernan, Tim Keller, Mary Jane Garcia, and Linda Lopez.

You can learn more about this issue and learn ways to take action urging protection of the chimpanzees at the website of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Visit the Help Save Chimpanzee page to learn about The Great Ape Protection Act -- which would end the painful and invasive research on chimpanzees throughout the U.S. and release the 500 federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries -- and how you can push for passage of the federal legislation.

September 2, 2010 at 12:20 PM in Animal Protection, NM Legislature 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)