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Date: June 16, 2022



Joey Keefe, Assistant Commissioner of Communications


Commissioner Garcia Richard Testifies Before Congress on Federal Wildlife Killing Contest Ban Bill
Garcia Richard tells subcommittee killing contests are unethical, not backed by science

SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard provided testimony today on proposed federal legislation to ban wildlife killings contests on public lands before the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Commissioner Garcia Richard argued in support of H.R. 7398, saying that organized wildlife killing contests are unethical, indiscriminate killings that are not backed by sound conservation science.

Below is an excerpt from Commissioner Garcia Richard’s prepared testimony to the subcommittee:

“Wildlife killing contests are simply not a sound management practice. Indiscriminate and organized killing contests disrupt healthy and balanced ecosystems – they don’t serve any legitimate purpose. Just because a species is unregulated for game purposes, does not mean it is without value. Predators play an important role in maintaining ecosystem balance with prey, and healthy public lands depend on them. These types of contests aren’t about managing populations, protecting livestock, or traditional hunting values that are held dear to so many communities. This is generalized killing of species for the mere competition of killing. It is a cruel but also an ecologically damaging practice.” 

In 2019, Commissioner Garcia Richard issued an executive order banning organized wildlife killing contests on state trust lands in New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, New Mexico enacted a law prohibiting the practice and is now one of eight states to prohibit wildlife killing contests.

Commissioner Garcia Richard’s full written testimony is available here.

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $3.8 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.