Source: In Defense of Animals
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 However, we’re happy to let you know, that permit has since been rescinded..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one day, former Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to issue a new and vastly enhanced grazing permit to the Hammonds was rescinded by the Interior department of the Biden administration!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.