(UPDATE) The Bureau of Land Management is confirming six cattle were euthanized or died during the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s livestock in Bunkersville, Nev. The BLM said four animals were euthanized and two died of unspecified causes. The four euthanized animals included a bull with Bundy’s brand, a cow with Bundy’s brand, an unbranded bull and unbranded cow, BLM spokesman Craig Leff said in a statement. The other two animals that died included an unbranded bull and an unbranded cow. “The Bundy branded bull that was euthanized posed a significant threat to employees during the gather. The Bundy branded cow ran into a fence panel injuring its spine and was euthanized,” added Leff.
The Nevada rancher in a fight with the federal government over grazing land his family has been using since the late 1800s is revealing some of the damage he blames on the U.S. government: cattle shot and killed and then dumped into trenches and buried.
The Bureau of Land Management contends Cliven Bundy owes more than $1.2 million in grazing fees, but Bundy insists the federal government is overstepping its authority, charging him to use the same land on which his ancestors grazed cattle a century ago.
The conflict reached a flashpoint when the government moved in armed officers April 5 and started rounding up the family’s cattle with the apparent intention of selling them off and keeping the money.
However, hundreds of individuals the family has described as “patriots” also moved in. Rather than spark a pitched battle, the federal officers retreated after a weeklong standoff, with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., promising that the battle was not over.
The standoff has resulted in damaged fences, damaged water troughs and dead cattle, the family charged.
One of the images was accompanied by a note that said: “Digging up 1 of the HUGE holes where they threw the cows that they had ran to death or shot. I feel that this NEEDS to be put out for the public to see.”
On the Facebook page, accompanying another image of dead cattle, Cyndi Larson Hull said: “There is your proof they were not using it to pay toward fees … it was outright tyranny and terrorism on the part of the BLM.”
The family also posted a note urging that people check their information before spreading stories.
“We, the Bundys, are so overwhelmed with the wonderful support, love, and prayers. It is an amazing ride with the best people in America. We are trying to keep up with each and every one of you. We want you to know that we are safe. We are trying to return to a somewhat ‘normal’ lifestyle. Our message is that we still need out. We still need your support. If you do not get you[r] information from us personally or from this blog, it is our desire that you not pass it on.”
The family also announced a Friday, April 18, “Patriot Party” for supporters to bring a picnic and “play in the river” with music and entertainment through the evening.
FoxNews.com earlier reported damage to the grazing land includes holes in water tanks, destroyed water lines and broken-down fences.
FoxNews.com said, according to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.
“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did,” family friend Corey Houston told Fox.
At the time, Fox News reported BLM officials said it needed to destroy “illegal structures” such as water tanks and water lines to “restore” the land. But Fox noted that a court order justifying the operation only granted permission to “seize and impound” cattle.
The plan, under which the BLM paid a Utah wrangler $966,000 to collect Bundy’s cattle and a Utah auctioneer to sell them, fell apart after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert refused to let Bundy’s cattle into his state.
“There are serious concerns about human safety and animal health and well-being, if these animals are shipped to and sold in Utah,” he wrote.
But the showdown remains far from over, with Reid describing the ranchers’ friends as “domestic terrorists.” Reid assured that, although federal agents retreated and released the cattle, the confrontation was not over.
A number of columnists have expressed concern about the federal government’s actions.
Barbara Simpson wrote: “It wasn’t an innocent confrontation but a heavy-handed, one-sided overkill. … In a scene out of a tyrannical government playbook – hey gang, that’s U.S. – the government moved in with armored personnel vehicles and helicopters. Armed men equipped with the latest in weaponry and body armor surrounded the ranch house and outbuildings while comparably armed snipers took their places, at the ready, as they lined up their targets, just in case.
“The targets? Unarmed American citizens on their own land.”
She said, according to Harry Reid, “disagreeing with the feds and standing up for your rights makes you a terrorist, and because of that, the feds have the right to blow you and your family away.”
“Sorry, Harry, that’s not America and despite what you say, Americans don’t use the military to enforce laws.”
Members of Congress have suggested Reid’s comments are only “liable to stir up” the issue.
Former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman wrote that the Bundy conflict indicates a “New American Revolution” is under way.
“If the events in Nevada over the last week or so are any indication, where brave patriots, exercising their Second Amendment rights, stood down the tyranny of Obama’s Bureau of Land Management on behalf of the Bundy family and their cattle ranch, then indeed full-scale revolution is now in full swing in both the courts and through armed men on horseback,” he said. “Here, militias from throughout the nation converged, along with other brave citizens, to show the government that we simply will not take their ‘horse manure’ anymore.”
Former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado said: “The Bundys have grazed cattle on that same land for 136 years, but nowadays, the desert tortoise has more rights than Bundy’s cattle. Bundy is the only local rancher who has not yet been driven out of business by federal land management policies.
“The issue here is bigger than the fate of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle. The federal government continues to assert ownership not only of the land Bundy has been grazing his cattle on since 1877, but of 84.5 percent of all Nevada land. The federal government also owns 69 percent of Alaska, 57 percent of Utah, 53 percent of Oregon, 48 percent of Arizona, and 36 percent of Colorado. Indeed, the BLM alone owns 245,000,000 acres of land, an area half the size of Mexico and larger than 48 of our 50 states.”
Tancredo said the “narrow legal issue in the Bundy ranch controversy is his refusal to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management over the past 21 years.”:
“There is a court order telling him he must pay the fees, and many conservative commentators say he has no legal leg to stand on in that defiance. In terms of ‘settled case law,’ they are probably right. But, is that a good enough reason to abandon Cliven Bundy and his family? … Martin Luther King heard the same arguments when he protested segregated lunch counters in Birmingham, Ala. King chose to go to jail to challenge those ‘settled laws,’ and those laws were overturned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “