Horse News

Good News: Anti–Wild Horse Rancher Denied New Grazing Permit

Source: In Defense of Animals

Private “Welfare Cattle” being herded onto BLM Antelope Complex in Nevada, while Wild Horse roundup was being conducted ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Recently we have been writing  about individual militant anti-wild horse ranchers who take up arms to intimidate government agents regarding public land use. One of these cases involved father-and-son ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who have spent time in prison for felony abuse of public lands in Oregon. On the last day in office for former President Trump and his Interior Secretary, David Bernhart, a new grazing permit good for ten years was hurriedly granted to them. However, we’re happy to let you know, that permit has since been rescinded..

The Hammonds are notorious for consistently breaking laws regarding public land and grazing permit use.

Countless threats from the Hammonds to government agents and anyone who might stand in their way of misusing public lands are on record. They have a long, sordid litany of violent threats, felony arson on public lands, prison time (with Trump pardon), and revocation and non-renewal of their previous grazing permits. Their felony conviction was a contributing factor to an infamous event in 2016, when militant ranchers took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Many believe that the resulting 41-day armed standoff was a precursor to the attempted takeover of our nation’s capitol on January 6 this year.

Wild horses and burros live on public lands guaranteed to them by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Yet, wild horses suffer immeasurably in brutal roundups because some self-entitled ranchers like the Hammonds want wild horses removed to have more resources for their private livestock. Public lands belong to all Americans, and surveys consistently show the public wants wild horses and burros to stay on them.

Members of the public, wild horse advocacy organizations, and environmental advocacy groups who understand the damaging impacts of livestock grazing were outraged at the Trump administration’s last-minute grazing permit approval for the Hammonds. 

On February 25, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for unlawfully awarding a new grazing permit to Hammond Ranches, Inc. 

In just one day, former Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to issue a new and vastly enhanced grazing permit to the Hammonds was rescinded by the Interior department of the Biden administration! The quick action bodes well for the latest, more favorable decision to become permanent.

9 replies »

  1. Saw this on WWP & CBD’s sites – good start! Now start rescinding some more of them! Give the Wild Horses back some of their Herd Areas that have been zeroed out for livestock!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank God we are bringing sanity back! It’s time for our Wild Horses and Burros to take back and roam on the land that is rightful theirs! The BLM needs a total revamping along with the Adoption program! We need a TOTAL.accountability for.every horse and Burro in a holding facility and on private land! And I agree if you want to raise cattle they need to buy their own land like they do in other parts of the country! This was a win for our Wild Horses and Burros!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with the fact that ranchers take advantage of our public lands and our wild horses and burros suffer immensely. However, the author needs to do some factual research as to why the Malheur NWR was occupied illegally as the comparison of Malheur to the recent occupying of our Washington DC Capital is way off base!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe not as “off base” as you might think. Also feel compelled to say ranchers don’t “take advantage” so much as we GIVE them advantage in a broken system. That they use this to their advantage seems about as American as can be. In my view we need to address the system, then reward those who properly abide by it — and the public interest.

      When the full story of the 6 January storming of the US Capitol building is told, historians will have to make sense of what might seem an odd footnote. The two most prominent rightwing militia groups that participated in the mob onslaught on Congress – the Three Percenters, based in Idaho, and the Oath Keepers, based in Nevada – cut their teeth in obscure corners of the American west, where for close to a decade they have threatened violence against federal employees and institutions that steward the nation’s public lands.
      ‘It was just a free-for-all’: my day photographing the Capitol attack
      Read more

      “The mob violence that swarmed the halls of the Capitol building and other government offices flows from a series of smaller armed insurrections by domestic terrorists across the west,” says Erik Molvar, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, a non-profit that advocates for environmental regulation of public lands.

      Time after time in Idaho, Nevada and Utah, the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers, paramilitary organizations formed in the wake of Barack Obama’s election in 2008, have come to the rescue of ranchers, miners and loggers who have violated federal environmental regulations on the public domain but who the militias said were innocent commoners oppressed by a vicious state apparatus.

      Brandishing arms and threatening their use against federal officials, the militias have enjoyed spectacular successes – with the Capitol only the latest example.
      Sign up for monthly updates on America’s public lands

      The Three Percenters and Oath Keepers came to public attention in 2014, when they encamped with the notorious anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy. The recalcitrant old cowboy refused to remove his trespassing cattle from public lands around his 160-acre spread in Bunkerville, Nevada.

      And this (there are more reports around if you look):

      Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, called the 2016 refuge occupation a “dress rehearsal for what we saw at the Capitol.” The center, based in Denver, advocates for land and water conservation in the West.

      “The extremist ideologies and tactics that led to the violent occupation of public lands in Oregon are the same ideologies that President Trump has stoked among his supporters,” she said in a statement Thursday.

      “You can draw a straight line from the Bundy Ranch standoff and Malheur takeover to the Trump insurrection in Washington,” she said.

      Before Malheur, Ammon Bundy, father Cliven Bundy and brother Ryan Bundy were accused of rallying militia members and armed supporters to stop federal officers in April 2014 from impounding Bundy Ranch cattle in Nevada. Cliven Bundy owed more than $1 million in grazing fees and penalties that he refused to pay for two decades after federal authorities moved to limit his cattle’s access to public land.

      Liked by 1 person

Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.