Monday, January 11, 2016

Oregon standoff: Bundy, militants destroy fence at federal refuge

Militants presiding over an armed occupation of a federal bird sanctuary destroyed a portion of a fence Monday afternoon that they said was installed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – using the agency's own equipment. The stunt was perhaps the militants' boldest yet since overtaking the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month. Arizona businessman Ammon Bundy and his band of protesters traveled about five miles south of refuge headquarters to a property where they said a local ranching family grazes cattle. Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, said the Fish and Wildlife Service used a $100,000 grant to install the fence last year, preventing the family's 600 cattle from grazing on nearby public land. "This will help them out, being able to run their ranch like they have in the past," Bundy said. The militants had permission from the family to destroy the fence, he added. "They actually showed us where they wanted it," Bundy said. The militants removed barbed wire – Bundy with only his bare hands – and then used an excavator adorned with the Fish and Wildlife Service's logo to pluck stakes out of the ground. The Fish and Wildlife Service condemned the militants' actions in a written statement. "Removing fences, damaging any refuge property, or unauthorized use of equipment would be additional unlawful actions by the illegal occupiers. Any movement of cattle onto the refuge or other activities that are not specifically authorized by [the Fish and Wildlife Service] constitutes trespassing...more

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