Thousands of cattle once owned by Cliven Bundy are now roaming public lands, abandoned, feral, and slowly starving to death.
Bundy had spent years making millions off of cattle that he had been illegally feeding on public land to avoid paying grazing fees, but when the government finally put an end to it, the rancher abandoned the herd rather than pay a cent to the Bureau of Land Management. It’s left over a thousands cattle – unaccustomed to life in the wild – to slowly die.
In a photo taken by animal rights activists, a cow purported to be one of Bundy’s is nearly skin and bones. Its ribcage is jutting out and it looks sickly.
The Reno Gazette-Journal discovered an online petition launched to try to help the cattle it claims are starving. Reporter Mark Robison did some digging and found that the hundreds of cows are indeed “caught in limbo between state and federal authorities” in the hot, desert area in which Bundy abandoned them. Flint Wright, an administrator in the Nevada Department of Agriculture conceded that he didn’t know the extent of the animals’ welfare, but that given the way Bundy had treated him, he wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they were poorly taken care of.
We have not received any substantiated reports of Cliven Bundy’s cattle starving on the Golden Butte allotment — though this may be true to some extent, as Cliven’s management practices leave a lot to be desired.
He added that the number of cows is estimated to be well over a thousand. Nobody knows what to do with them.
Bundy has been in a protracted battle with the federal and state government over his right to freely graze cattle on land that is protected and should be off-limits. For two decades, Bundy has ignored repeated attempts to get him to cease the illegal activities and pay back the millions in fees he had accrued. Things came to a head in 2014, when he and a group of armed right-wing anti-government fanatics threatened to open fire on BLM agents if they attempted to seize Bundy’s cattle or arrest Bundy himself.
Shamefully, the BLM eventually relented and the “Bundy militia” declared victory. Several violent actions have been linked directly to this event. In one case, a pair of Bundy acolytes shot two police officers and went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas as a way to kickstart a “war” against the government. Bundy’s children would later migrate to Oregon where they would occupy a wildlife refuge for months with a cache of ammo and guns. One of their friends died while reaching for a gun after a car chase.
However, the damage that the Bundy family has done wasn’t just to the safety and welfare of the people around them. The cattle they fought so hard to keep have been left abandoned because Cliven made the assessment that managing them wasn’t worth it if he wasn’t allowed to do it for free. The number of feral cows has swelled even as the food has evaporated.
Thus, we see the true scope of Cliven Bundy’s greed. His sons are in jail. His friends are dead – and some had taken innocent people with them. His cows are slowly starving to death in the desert. Bundy is free and still has the gall to complain that he is treated unfairly. Greed and entitlement mixed into a toxic cocktail.
Featured image via Care2