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Bundy ranch stand-off: Government helicopters shot cattle multiple times 'for fun'

Published time: April 24, 2014 15:36
Rancher Cliven Bundy poses for a photo outside his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada (Reuters / George Frey)

Rancher Cliven Bundy poses for a photo outside his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada (Reuters / George Frey)

As the ongoing saga between Nevada ranch owner Cliven Bundy and the federal government continues, the rancher’s son claims federal agents killed multiple cattle during their roundup, shooting some animals up to five times.

The stand-off began earlier this month, when the Bureau of Land Management attempted to enforce a court order and seize nearly 1,000 head of cattle raised by Bundy. The agency claimed the rancher owed taxpayers $1 million in grazing fees that he stopped paying back in 1993. Bundy, however, disputed the allegation and said he owed the government nothing, and that his ancestors had been using that land since the late 1800s.

When the BLM showed up with hundreds of armed federal agents and began rounding up the cattle, almost 1,000 people came to Bundy’s aide – armed militia from multiple states and others who believed the government was overstepping its bounds. In order to avoid escalation, the BLM released the hundreds of cattle it had collected back into Bundy’s custody, confirming it would continue its case in the courts.

Speaking with Breitbart.com on Wednesday, Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, said some of the cattle had been killed, accused the BLM of using helicopters during its roundup, and said agents used “inhumane” methods to gather the animals.

“Well we know that two bulls were shot. And the one that they threw up in the mountain, Nickelcrick, he had a shot from above. He was shot by helicopter, but then he had four other shots to him as well. It looks like a fun shoot,” said the younger Bundy adding, “One hit him in the head and it ripped his whole face up. It was almost like a fun shoot.”

Rancher Cliven Bundy (C), with his grandson Braxton Louge in tow and armed security guards leave his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada (AFP Photo / George Frey)

For its part, the BLM acknowledged that four cattle were killed, but stated officials “euthanized” them, and that two died during the roundup.

“The Bundy branded bull that was euthanized posed a significant threat to employees during the gather. The Bundy branded cow ran into a fence panel injuring its spine and was euthanized,” an unnamed BLM official told Breitbart.

The agency did not say whether its roundup involved the use of helicopters – a controversial practice that opponents claim frightens animals, forces them to run for miles, and can cause potential injury.

“Since Saturday they were in gathering this cattle by helicopter,” Ammon Bundy claimed. “They were pushing them all. When you do it that way, it was 90 degrees that week—in the 90’s, those cattle run too hard and it’s very difficult on them and they’ll overheat and die, but also this is calving season right now. So these cows are aborting their calves and they’re also separating their newborn babies from their mothers.”

Bundy also accused the BLM of dragging the cattle through the dirt by their necks, but said an autopsy would be necessary before knowing if that was done before or after the cattle had died.

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy made headlines Wednesday evening as well, when he questioned whether African Americans were better off as slaves to a New York Times reporter.

Rancher Cliven Bundy (L), and armed security guards leave his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada (AFP Photo / George Frey)

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” Bundy said, describing a time he passed a public-housing project in Las Vegas. “In front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Asked about these statements, lawmakers who had come out in support of Bundy’s conflict with the government quickly said they did not share those beliefs. Speaking with the Times, a spokeswoman for Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said the senator "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”