Yesterday afternoon, the NM House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee tabled HB 446, which aimed to have feral horses designated as wildlife and put under the management of the NM Department of Game & Fish. This means the bill will not move forward.
The hearing was lively, complete with f-bombs hurled by a WHOA supporter. Patience O’Dowd (WHOA president) and Rep. Joanne Ferrary, the bill’s sponsor, were unable to clearly explain or defend the bill, weren’t able to answer some simple, pointed questions by committee members, and seemed unaware of existing livestock regulations directly relevant to the bill. The director of Game & Fish, which gets two-thirds of its budget from hunting and fishing licenses, explained to the committee why the notion of adding horses to the agency’s purview was a non-starter.
One of the bill’s supporters told the committee she knew of 170 acres that would be a great place to put a bunch of wild horses. It was pointed out to her that 170 acres would provide enough forage for approximately three and a half horses. It’s a telling example of how poorly informed some members of the wild horse lobby are about basic horse facts.
We’re grateful to the folks who attended the hearing, spoke before the committee, or met with representatives to discuss the bill’s shortcomings. Fortunately, the House committee was not taken in by O’Dowd’s “alternative facts.”