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A measure that would outlaw coyote killing contests for prizes or entertainment has cleared its latest legislative hurdle.

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 7-4 in favor of the bill, which would make it illegal in New Mexico to organize, sponsor or participate in a coyote killing contest. No restrictions would be placed on hunting or trapping the animals.

The initiative won Senate approval in early March. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

Ranchers and outfitters from across the state have argued that the contests are a tool for managing packs of coyotes that threaten livestock. Supporters of the legislation have called the practice barbaric and ineffective.

Animal advocates testified that there are between 20 and 30 such contests held in the state each year.