2013 Annual Accomplishments(More detail is available through APNM's quarterly member magazine, Making Tracks)
Animal Protection of New Mexico's (APNM) lifesaving and life-affirming work for animals is comprised of conscientious efforts within six program areas:
- Challenging Animal Cruelty Program
- Equine Protection Program
- Humane Communities & Animal Sheltering Program
- Humane Education Program
- Chimpanzees to Sanctuary Program
- Coexisting With Wildlife Program
In 2013, substantial and lasting change was achieved in each program area, as summarized below.
Challenging Animal Cruelty Program
APNM was able to maintain a constant presence for the benefit of animals and the general public by providing a full-time staff person to answer two animal cruelty hotlines (APNM's hotline and the Attorney General's Animal Cruelty Task Force Hotline). Approximately 850 cases were reported in 2013, and in many instances APNM was able to simply refer callers to the correct agency for reporting neglect and abuse. In other instances, particularly those in which a caller wished to remain anonymous, APNM worked directly with the correct agency to bring relief to many of the animal(s) affected. Unfortunately, APNM is not able to help bring relief to animals in every case because local and/or state laws do not prohibit activities that are clearly cruel but not yet illegal.
During 2013 APNM offered rewards related to four especially egregious animal cruelty cases for which an offender had not been identified -- a horse shot through the neck in Chaves county, a severely abused dog in Valencia county, a cat caught in a leghold trap, and a dog starved in Corrales.
APNM also provided an unprecedented level of training on the LINK between animal cruelty and family violence to child welfare advocates, juvenile justice agency employees, and law enforcement officers through presentations at the 20th Annual Children's Law Institute and through cooperation with the NM Children, Youth & Families Department. Over 1,000 people were exposed to the important message that animal cruelty and family violence are inextricably and dangerously linked.
APNM broadened and deepened its Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) Network, which helps people escape a violent home by providing a safe haven for animals also at risk of harm from abusers. While APNM's CARE program routinely offers a lifeline to many people and their animals every year, in 2013 APNM entered into a partnership with the NM Coalition Against Domestic Violence with the goal to dramatically enhance services available to families leaving a violent home with their animals.
Equine Protection Program
2013 saw APNM continuing to organize massive, statewide opposition to plans for a horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, and pushing for truly humane solutions for homeless horses, something APNM has demonstrated is feasible through its Equine Protection Fund (Fund). As of December 2013, the Fund has now helped over 475 equines since the start of the program through a combination of feed assistance, gelding assistance, veterinary assistance, and horse stewardship programs. With a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), APNM hired an Equine Development Officer whose sole focus is promoting the Equine Protection Fund and raising the money needed to maintain a robust level of direct services for equines and ensure the Equine Protection Fund is sustainable into the future. Many new Equine Protection Fund donors, both individuals and foundations, have helped make a difference in 2013, while demand has continued to rise for Fund services.
Under the auspices of Animal Protection Voters (APV), APNM was able to further institutionalize equine welfare within New Mexico state agencies by helping pass a law creating the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund within the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB). Through this new avenue, New Mexico taxpayers will now be allowed to voluntarily donate their state tax refunds to help horses through one of several equine shelters licensed by the NMLB. Additionally, APV helped to defeat a House memorial in support of horse slaughter in New Mexico.
APNM has been asked to work with the Navajo and other Native nations to assist them with creating lasting and humane solutions to management of unwanted equines. APNM plans to translate into the Navajo language its Equine Care Guide, a free brochure featuring information on feed, veterinary care, shelter, and disaster planning for families with horses. It is currently available in both English and Spanish.
In late December, New Mexico's Attorney General (AG) Gary King bolstered horse advocates' hopes for keeping New Mexico free of a cruel horse slaughter plant by filing a lawsuit in state court to prevent a plant from opening in Roswell. The AG argued that a horse slaughterhouse threatens the safety of New Mexico's water supply and other aspects of the state's environment, and that because horses are routinely given drugs and medicines throughout their lives, meat from American horses constitutes a food product that is not safe for humans to eat.
Humane Communities & Animal Sheltering Program
With funding from the ASPCA®, APNM maintained its important Animal Shelter Assistance Program that supports resource-challenged animal shelters throughout New Mexico. Through this effort, APNM brings shelters training, resources, assistance with grant proposal writing, capacity enhancement and additional community support, particularly for those areas in which euthanasia numbers are excessive and local support for sheltering is limited. Following a detailed and comprehensive needs assessment completed in 2013, APNM will continue to partner with the ASPCA® to increase the number of animals who leave our state's shelters alive for a forever home.
In 2013 APNM also launched its Animal Relocation initiative, again supported by a grant from the ASPCA®. This initiative is a direct response to the fact that about 135,000 dogs and cats enter New Mexico's shelters each year, and nearly half are euthanized. Animal relocation can be a life-saving solution, but APNM wants to ensure it is conducted humanely and efficiently. When adoptable animals are successfully moved from areas with overcrowded shelters to regions where space is available and similar animals are not readily available for adoption, it can be a positive outcome for animals and people. The initiative consists of several elements, beginning with the compilation and analysis of a statewide survey of current relocation activity in New Mexico. APNM then plans to use logistics and proven theories of supply and demand to help end the needless euthanasia of dogs and cats. At the same time, APNM is providing new opportunities for collaboration through the assembly of a statewide relocation coalition, made up of all the shelter professionals, rescue partners and volunteers currently engaged in animal relocation in our state. APNM is encouraging all eligible participants in New Mexico to register on the ASPCA MAP (Moving Animals Places), a free tool with an innovative approach to relocation. The ASPCA MAP is a searchable database connected to a map, in which members can find and partner with other organizations to transfer animals from areas of oversupply to areas where demand is greater. To learn more, click here. Ultimately, APNM's goals include developing and supporting relocation systems and practices that will have the greatest impact on quality placement of animals, ensure conditions that support optimal animal health and well-being are realized, improve animal health at both source and destination shelters, create more streamlined and humane transportation methods and provide improved follow-up and reporting.
APNM's Humane Communities Program also includes an important component on Disaster Preparedness that involves planning for the wellbeing of animals and the people who care about them. APNM has been participating in a wide range of activities within the emergency management community to encourage interagency cooperation at all levels. In partnership with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, APNM is helping to create a statewide Emergency Animal Resources Guide of all existing resources -- animal shelters, other facilities, organizations, equipment, transport, trained personnel, etc. -- in each county that would be available for emergency animal sheltering and related needs during an evacuation. Also, APNM expanded public awareness of our Animal Safety Planning Guide and other resources to help more New Mexicans be prepared to keep themselves and their animals safe when disaster strikes. APNM will continue to develop networks with local, county, state and tribal agencies and organizations to strengthen and expand New Mexico's readiness and capacity for effective emergency animal response.
Humane Education Program
2013 has been a banner year for APNM's humane education program, The Animal Connection. First launched in Valencia county in response to the region's high incidence of animal cruelty and neglect cases, interest in the program from teachers, principals, parents and other educators has exploded! The Animal Connection offers valuable lessons in animal welfare and the costs and responsibilities of humanely caring for an animal, helps build compassion for people and animals among student recipients, and enhances the academic performance of the students who receive the program. Its protective value in fostering anti-bullying skills among its student participants has also been lauded. The program, designed for grades 3 through 8, is a 12-week curriculum that helps teachers meet many of the National Common Core Standards in research, oral and written communication, social studies and mathematics. New in 2013, the program includes an innovative curricular module about farm and ranch animal care and welfare. The Animal Connection is offered in several Albuquerque, Los Lunas and Santa Fe area schools and is also available in a grade-appropriate, four-week version for Pre-K through 2nd grade. To learn more about The Animal Connection and watch a compelling new video about the program, click here.
Chimpanzees to Sanctuary Program
In conjunction with important national partners, APNM's tireless efforts on this program resulted in an unprecedented announcement by the National Institutes of Health that they will end the use of chimpanzees in invasive testing, retire hundreds of chimpanzees to sanctuary, and will not breed any more chimps for use in research. This jaw-dropping development was directly because of APNM's Chimpanzees to Sanctuary program that has mobilized citizens and our state's policymakers to demand answers to questions about the use of chimpanzees in painful and unnecessary experiments. APNM's role in this remarkable change in national policy regarding chimpanzees was noted in a front-page article in the New York Times. This means that for the first time in decades, the almost 200 chimpanzees still in Alamogordo have a chance of being permanently retired from long and difficult years being used in invasive testing. Also, amendments to the CHIMP Act were passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, authorizing renewed funding for chimpanzees in federal sanctuaries. APNM's work on this campaign is far from over. In 2014 APNM will help raise part of the millions of dollars in 'private matching' funds required for federal spending on chimpanzees in sanctuaries.
Coexisting With Wildlife Program
APNM's work to promote coexistence with New Mexico's wildlife centered around exposing the cruelties of killing contests, and the use of cruel traps and poisons on public lands. Both practices cause unspeakable suffering to wild animals, maiming and killing countless animals, orphaning baby animals and disrupting important social structures that would otherwise support stable wild animal populations.
In 2013 APNM organized opposition to killing contests throughout New Mexico, including among gun owners and hunters. Thousands of people signed petitions to support curtailing these cruel practices. APNM's legislative work to ban killing contests and the use of traps and poisons on public lands through Animal Protection Voters was a prominent part of the 2013 legislative agenda. The bill to ban killing contests narrowly failed the NM House of Representatives on a vote of 30-38, with two absent. Unfortunately, a bill to ban traps and poisons on public lands, something supported by the majority of New Mexicans according to a poll commissioned by APNM and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, failed in its first committee after an unprecedented three hearings.
APNM continued to champion coexistence with wildlife through its Beavers Belong! initiative and the Cougar Smart New Mexico initiative, both of which were launched years ago. APNM distributed relevant materials to children and adults as part of its efforts to provide useful information and demonstrate the intrinsic and ecological value of New Mexico wildlife.
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