Nevada Cattle Rancher Battles The Federal GovernmentBy: Tina Volpe - April 11, 2014
In the fight that has ensued and promises to escalate between Cliven Bundy and governmental “hired guns”, something is about to go seriously wrong. Some say it already has. There are at least five different stories describing the reasons for this governmental attack. They include desert turtle preservation, water rights, land confiscation for development, and for natural gas rights – to name a few – however, the family has very little recourse against such an invasion, or do they?
Some theorists argue this isn’t about the cattle at all, but about wanting the Bundy Ranch.
Bundy and his ancestors, all Nevada farmers, have grazed cattle on the same public land since 1877, in a remote part of Nevada. He maintains that the government doesn’t own the land, however, the Bureau of Land Management has been insisting that Bundy pay them a “token fee” for grazing there. He stopped paying the fee in 1993.
Bundy argues against the fees and the BLM involvement in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement.
His argument has obviously fallen on deaf ears.
The Bureau of Land Management recently started rounding up Bundy’s cows, they took as many as 300 cattle from the family ranch. Their intent was to sell them at auction in Utah, but Gov. Gary Herbert argued that the whole controversy needed to be contained to Nevada.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is pissed about the whole affair.
“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” Sandoval said Tuesday in a statement. “The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly.”
“Most disturbing to me is the BLM’s establishment of a ‘First Amendment Area’ that tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution,” he said.
The strong armed federal intervention and seizure of Bundy’s cattle has created an immense outcry from other ranchers and critics who believe this is just another “heavy handed” federal intervention, even though they claim it is sanctioned by court orders.
Local police claim “public disturbances” of angry people are only going to get worse.
Especially in light of a recent violent confrontation on Wednesday when Bundy family members and dozens of supporters angrily confronted a group of rangers holding Tasers and barking dogs on leashes near the ranch. Federal officials say a police dog was kicked and officers were assaulted.
Cliven’s son, Dave Bundy, was taken into custody after allegedly being roughed up for taking pictures along State Road 170, which has been closed. His camera was confiscated.
“They gave my nephew Dave a concussion, stomped him on the ground to where he has kidney problems,” Kay Sessions, Dave’s aunt, told WND. “They hauled him to jail and interrogated him all night before letting him go. Before they took him to jail officials left him in a hot vehicle for three hours.
Cliven’s son, Ammon Bundy, said while what happened to his brother Dave was bad enough, federal officials have turned up the pressure yet again when they attacked him and members of a group peacefully protesting the removal of the cattle.
“We were protesting peacefully when, suddenly, 14 units with Rangers came off the mountain – 13 of them were armed ranger vehicles with two rangers per unit,” Ammon explained. “There were about 50 of us protesting when we went over to see what was in a dump truck that was with them, because we were afraid this might have been a rendering vehicle [containing dead cattle], and we wanted to know what was in the back of the truck.”
One of the biggest lingering questions is when does the Federal Government confiscate cattle in a remote part of the country? And where is it written that they have a right to come in using weapons and “military” force against a defenseless family on their own ranch? There is something seriously amiss when a governmental agency steps into a cattle rancher’s business, his livelihood – and begins taking his cattle, and in the process, creating a serious animal rights concern in separating mother cows from their newborns, and causing cattle to drop dead.
“We have seen cows with tight bags but no calves on them, who are being moved by the BLM,” Ammon Bundy told WND. “This means they have separated the newborn calves from their mothers and they will eventually die.”
“They are flying helicopters over the herd to chase them,” Ammon said. “It was over 90 degrees here today, and the cattle can’t run very far in this heat before collapsing. This is especially true for the young calves. We have a lot of them being born because it is springtime, and they don’t have the strength to keep up with their mothers when they are running. The cattle then become overheated and die.”
Bundy told The Blaze that more than 200 armed federal officers are currently in the area, and his wife Carol said it appears snipers now surround the family’s 150 acre ranch.
“I’ve been fighting this for a number of years. It’s not about my cows, I’ll tell you that much,” he said at a town meeting on Wednesday night. “It’s about freedom and liberty and our Constitution … and above all it’s about our policing power.”
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