Government “seizures” – or Cattle Rustling
Cowboys hired by the federal government began stealing Clive Bundy’s cattle this weekend in Nevada. And they didn’t just take the cows, agents also showed up with helicopters and SUVs full of armed men. Why? Over grazing rights on BLM land. It’s a dispute that has been going on for years, but it has been generally fought in court- apparently the federal government is taking matters into their own hands.
“This is a lot bigger deal than just my cows. It’s a statement for freedom and liberty and the Constitution…They’ve been bringing men in and equipment and setting up a compound. They got helicopters flying low. They got snipers around the ranch. Our access to public lands has been blocked.” Clive Bundy
Bundy’s son was arrested on Sunday in an incident related to the presence of the federal agents. Clive Bundy says that agents surrounded his 150 acre ranch. He has reportedly grazed his cattle on the disputed land for “decades,” and his father and his grandfather before that.
Gold Butte is near the Utah border., and is under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Mr. Bundy stopped paying the grazing rights fees five years ago, and has continued to graze his cattle on BLM land.
Sagebrush Rebellion and an age-old fight
During the 1970s and 1980s, a phenomenon called the “Sagebrush Rebellion” took place with ranchers across the American West. It was a protest to oppose the federal maintenance of wild lands that were mostly sagebrush, and could be used for grazing, or off road vehicles. Even Ronald Reagan declared himself a supporter of the rebellion, using a relatively famous line, “Count me in as a rebel.” And President George H.W. Bush worked to get around environmentalists whose purpose was to destroy ranching, farming, and mining. After the rebellion-friendly presidents left office, the fires of rancher versus federal government began again in earnest. Which is why we are now seeing armed federal agents routing a Nevada rancher and stealing his cattle.
Then there’s that endangered species…
Currently, the area of contention in Nevada is a habitat for the Desert Tortoise, an endangered species. There has to be a better way than gestapo-like tactics running roughshod over a rancher and his cattle. To bring in armed agents, helicopters, and thieves to “seize” a man’s personal assets is ludicrous. And the feds will likely deny it’s over a tortoise. But a man’s property is a man’s property. Oh, and by the way, cattle rustling was a hanging offense back in the old west…
“We’re not pointing guns at anyone but we’re sure getting a lot of guns pointed at us.” Carol Bundy