(March 25, 2019)... The New Mexico legislative session concluded on March 16, 2019 with a major victory for New Mexico’s wild horses. SB158, if enacted, would have placed the fate of the state’s wild horses in the hands of the Livestock Board, providing a mechanism for the removal of all free-roaming horses not protected by federal law in New Mexico. The American Wild Horse Campaign actively engaged with the legislature to block this measure. AWHC is grateful for the assistance of key Members of the House of Representatives, especially Representatives Gayle Chasey and Joanne Ferrary.
SB158, sponsored by Senator Pat Woods (R) District 7, passed the Senate and seemed destined to become law. It sought to place decisions about wild horses in the hands of the anti-wild horse State Livestock Board, which would have been authorized to remove any and all horses from the range under a vague and undefined standard nominally tied to public safety or animal health. AWHC offered amendments to the bill to make it less harmful to wild horses, but they were rejected by Senator Woods.
AWHC members and grassroots supporters were then able to turn the tide and defeat this harmful legislation in the House of Representatives. We appreciate the leadership of Representative Chasey, who provided a fair process and the opportunity for our supporters to be heard.
AWHC also appreciates the efforts of Representative Joanne Ferrary in introducing HB445, which would have appropriated $300,000 from the state general fund for the creation of the New Mexico Equine Board under the Energy Minerals & Natural Resources Division. AWHC supports establishing an equine board independent from the horse-hostile Livestock Board. Ultimately, due to budgetary priorities, this legislation was not successful during the 2019 legislative session, but we look forward to working with Representative Ferrary next session to develop legislation that will protect the state’s wild horses, provide for their humane management while also addressing public safety concerns.