Billings, Mont. - In a strongly worded letter sent yesterday to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell, R-CALF USA urged her to cease her ongoing efforts to confiscate cattle owned by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his family, an action that would effectively drive the Bundy family out of the cattle business.
This week the U.S. Department of the Interior began efforts to confiscate, by gunpoint, cattle owned by Bundy on land in Nevada that is controlled by the federal government but that has been grazed by the Bundy family for generations.
"R-CALF USA is deeply concerned regarding your agency's wanton display of intimidation against a Nevada rancher and believes your agency's initiation of an armed confrontation with which to send your political message is beneath any semblance of prudence or justice," wrote R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
Bullard explained that less than a year ago United States District Judge Robert C. Jones, United States District Court District of Nevada, issued a decision involving yet another effort by the Department of the Interior to drive independent cattle ranchers from western lands. Jones found that the U.S. Department of Interior engaged in an "intentional conspiracy" to deprive another Nevada rancher of his grazing permits and his vested water rights.
"This behavior shocks the conscience of the Court. . ." wrote Jones who also found there was a continuing animus against the Nevada rancher by the federal government.
"We have every reason to believe that Secretary Jewell is currently directing the same type of despicable animus against the Bundy's that District Judge Jones had discovered her agency was exhibiting toward one of Bundy's fellow ranchers," Bullard said.
In its letter, the cattle group makes clear that it makes no judgment regarding the purported non-payment of grazing fees by the Bundys, but it does make a judgment regarding what it called the untoward actions of the Department of the Interior.
Referring to Jewell's armed aggression against the Bundy's, the group wrote that the global spectacle Jewell has created raises serious questions regarding whether the Bundy's have been accorded due process.