Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game


All kill, no chill: Colorado cow farmers can’t handle a one-day meat-free holiday

Not-so-jolly ranchers in Colorado are up in arms after the state’s governor Jared Polis dared to declare an official flesh-free holiday to encourage people to go plant-based for just one day. Why so threatened? Let’s discuss. 


What a difference a day makes – that’s what cow farmers in the US state of Colorado are saying this week following the news that state governor Jared Polis officially declared March 20 as #MeatOut Day, as reported by Plant Based News.

Considering we’re bombarded with meat propaganda the other 364 days of the year, one would think that animal farmers would be able to chill a bit and let arable farmers have their day in the spotlight. After all, it’s not as if that $1 in every $365 wouldn’t be going to any food producers.https://www.youtube.com/embed/uu3mdWsM0Dk?wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1

But let’s not feign naivety as MeatOut Day was started almost 40 years ago by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) to promote “conversation questioning the consumption of animal products around the world” and “remind us of animal agriculture’s devastating impact to the animals, our health, and the environment” according to their website.

The vegan agenda is pretty clear so it is little wonder that animal farmers are on the offensive when their elected state commander-in-chief officially legitimises everything we’ve been saying. By signing up to MeatOut Day, Colorado has effectively declared its agreement with the following points made in the MeatOut proclamation:

  • Removing animal products from our diets reduces the risk of various ailments, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, various cancers, and diabetes;
  • A plant-based diet helps protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, preserving forests, grasslands and wildlife habitats, and reduces pollution of waterways;
  • A growing number of people are reducing their meat consumption to help prevent animal cruelty;
  • Since MeatOut was launched in 1985, more than 35 million Americans have explored a plant-based diet and reduced their consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs; and major food manufacturers and national franchises are marketing more vegan options in response to this growing demand.

“The world is changing, dying even, and animal agriculture is a leading cause of that. You may have lost your chill, but others are losing their lives.”

Just yesterday we reported on the news that eating animal products was linked to a greater risk of developing nine of 25 most common non-cancerous diseases responsible for hospitalisations. As well as being on the WHO’s list of Group 1 and Group 2A carcinogens, eating meat three or more times a week can increase your chances of developing ischaemic heart disease, pneumonia, diverticular disease, colon polyps, diabetes, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, gastritis and duodenitis, diverticular disease, gallbladder disease, and diabetes

As for the environmental impact of animal farming, and cow farming in particular, leading think tank Chatham House recently released a report to its many NGO, corporate and governmental members in which it states that “global dietary patterns need to converge around diets based more on plants, owing to the disproportionate impact of animal farming on biodiversity, land use and the environment”.

Polis has been branded a betrayer of cattle ranchers, with Plant Based News also reporting that the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association is fighting back by asking people to join in with ‘Meat In Day’ on the same day. Nevermind that meat is in every other day of the year thanks to the status quo.

Meat In or MeatOut? Either way, not very jolly at all
Meat In or MeatOut? Either way, not very jolly at all

The Association said that the goal of Meat In Day was to promote the “benefits of meat consumption” and also “patronize our local businesses, and restaurants, that’ve (sic) been deeply affected by the economic struggles of COVID-19”.

We sympathise and don’t doubt that local businesses are struggling as a result of Covid-19 – which emerged as a result of humans eating non-humans – but just imagine how they’ll fare when the next, more deadly pandemic strikes. H5N8 is just the latest strain of bird flu to jump from animals to humans as a result of farming, which creates the perfect conditions for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases, and we’re only a few mutations away from another 1918 flu pandemic.

There are few if any benefits of eating animals other than fueling an industry that generates profits from promoting devastating illnesses, environmental destruction and the exploitation of sentient beings. As for local businesses and restaurants, MeatOut Day is if anything an opportunity to showcase a variety of options and versatility in adapting to a changing world.

The same goes for any cattle ranchers reading this. The world is changing, dying even, and animal agriculture is a leading cause of that. You may have lost your chill, but others are losing their lives.

Andrew Gough is Media and Investigations Manager at Surge.

The snarling war between cattle ranchers and conservationists over wolves

By Nigel Duara Jan 24, 2018

About 23 years ago, the United States embarked on an experiment: What would happen if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released grey wolves in the West?

The results were… mixed.

To their credit, the wolves have successfully controlled the grass-munching elk and deer populations of the Northern Rockies, leaving more habitat available for other species, like bugs and beneficial algae.

But the wolves, it turns out, aren’t that picky when it comes to dinner, and ranchers’ cows make for easy targets. So states have had to readjust. In states like Idaho, for example, ranchers are permitted to protect their herds by killing wolves, and some states also allow wolf trophy hunts in an effort to further thin the packs.

But in Oregon, ranchers have found themselves caught between a snarling rock and a hard regulation — the wolves killing cows on their grazing grounds, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has strict rules against killing them in all but the rarest circumstances.

The ranchers who keep losing cattle to wolves, and the residents of Eastern Oregon who rely on the economy created by the cattle industry, have long argued the state of Oregon should loosen the rules.

And for the first time, starting last year, the state allowed for just that. But when four wolves from the Harl Butte Pack of northeastern Oregon were killed, environmentalists decried the wolf killings as unnecessary and cruel.

Still, ranchers here hope it’s just the start.

Last occupiers of Oregon wildlife refuge surrender to FBI


The Associated Press

BURNS, Ore. (AP) — Surrounded by FBI agents in armored vehicles, the last four occupiers of a national nature preserve surrendered Thursday, and a leader in their movement who organized a 2014 standoff with authorities was criminally charged in federal court.

The holdouts were the last remnants of a larger group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge nearly six weeks ago, demanding that the government turn over the land to locals and release two ranchers imprisoned for setting fires. For the first time since Jan. 2, the federal land was fully under the control of the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy, who was at the center of the 2014 standoff at his ranch in Nevada, was arrested late Wednesday in Portland after encouraging the Oregon occupiers not to give up. Bundy is the father of Ammon Bundy, the jailed leader of the Oregon occupation.

 On Thursday, the elder Bundy was charged in the standoff from two years ago. Federal authorities may have feared Bundy’s presence would draw sympathizers to defend the holdouts.

More: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/occupiers-at-oregon-refuge-say-theyll-turn-themselves-in/


Authorities closing in on Oregon’s Malheur occupation


FBI calls for removal of occupiers following eight arrests and the death of one man late Tuesday.

FBI sets up checkpoints around Oregon refuge after deadly confrontation


By Peter Henderson

Jan 27 (Reuters) – U.S. and state officials in Oregon on Wednesday set up checkpoints around Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where an armed group pledged to prolong its standoff with the government a day after one protester was shot and eight others were arrested.

Authorities said the new security involves a series of checkpoints along key routes into and out of the refuge, and was made out of an “abundance of caution” to protect the public and law enforcement after the confrontation.

The month-long occupation of the wildlife reserve over federal control of large tracts of the country turned violent on Tuesday after officers stopped a car carrying protest leader Ammon Bundy and others near the refuge. Activists said Robert LaVoy Finicum, a rancher who acted as a spokesman for the occupiers, was killed.

There were no details on why shooting broke out at the traffic stop. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said authorities would hold a news conference on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. PST (1730 GMT) in Burns, a town near the refuge.

One of the remaining occupiers, Jason Patrick, told Reuters by phone they would stay until the “redress of grievances.”

“I’ve heard ‘peaceful resolution’ for weeks now and now there’s a cowboy who is my friend who is dead – so prepare for the peaceful resolution,” Patrick said.

Authorities on Wednesday said the checkpoints will allow only ranchers who own property in the area to pass and anyone coming out of the refuge will have to show identity and have their vehicle searched.




Ammon Bundy speaks by phone to FBI negotiator


Ammon Bundy speaks by phone to FBI negotiator

Ammon Bundy speaks with reporter at a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, near Burns, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
BURNS, Ore. (AP) The leader of an armed group that is occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon has spoken with the FBI and there are plans to communicate again on Friday as the standoff over federal land policies nears the three-week mark.

Standing outside the municipal airport in Burns, Oregon, Ammon Bundy spoke by phone Thursday to an unnamed FBI negotiator. The federal agency has used the airport, about 30 miles from the refuge, as a staging ground during the occupation.

The conversation happened a day after Oregon’s governor sharply criticized federal authorities for not doing more to remove Bundy’s group from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the state’s high-desert.

The FBI did not specifically comment on the Thursday conversation, though it was streamed live online by someone from his group.

Bundy said he went to the airport to meet with FBI officials face to face, but they declined to meet him. Bundy said the FBI had called him 14 times in a row earlier this week, but he couldn’t pick up the phone because he was in a meeting.

“We’re not going to escalate nothing, we’re there to work,” Bundy told the FBI official, with reporters and supporters watching. “You guys as the FBI… you would be the ones to escalate. I’m here to shake your hands… myself and those with me are not a threat.”

He also told the FBI the agency doesn’t have “the people’s authority” to station at the airport. Earlier this month, officials said the FBI has jurisdiction over the armed takeover of the federal buildings in the refuge, as well as any crimes committed there.

“This occupation has caused tremendous disruption and hardship for the people of Harney County, and our response has been deliberate and measured as we seek a peaceful resolution,” the FBI said Thursday in a statement.

On Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she was angry because federal authorities have not taken action against Bundy’s group, which began occupying the refuge Jan 2. The Democratic governor said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.

“We’ll be asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs,” Brown said.

Bundy did not address concerns about how much the occupation is costing authorities. He did rail against federal land management policies and reiterated that his armed group would not leave the refuge until federal lands including the refuge are turned over to local control.

“We will leave there if those buildings are turned over to the proper authorities… and never used again by the federal government to control land and resources unconstitutionally in this county,” Bundy said.

Bundy said that despite some negative sentiments against his group expressed at recent community meetings, he believes his group’s work is appreciated by locals. He said the armed men have been “helping ranchers,” doing maintenance on the refuge because “it’s in a bad shape,” and taking care of fire hazards in the refuge’s fire house.

Bundy also asked the FBI to let two ranchers sent to prison for arson go back home. Bundy agreed to speak with authorities again on Friday. He said he would again come to the airport and hoped to speak with someone from the FBI face-to-face.

Earlier Bundy also said his group plans to have a ceremony Saturday for ranchers to renounce federal ownership of public land and tear up their federal grazing contracts. The armed group plans to open up the 300-square-mile refuge for cattle this spring.


Wozniacka reported from Portland, Oregon.

RELATED LINK: Oregon standoff leader attends community meeting, hears chants of ‘go’

The Oregon Militia Is Turning Out To Be Its Very Own Worst Enemy


In what is starting to look like a genius move, the federal government and local law enforcement have mostly kept their distance in the two weeks since an unknown number of out-of-town, rag-tag militiamen stormed the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and vowed to stay until the federal government turned over its land to local ranchers.

So far authorities have declined to confront the men or to put the squeeze on them by restricting movement to and from the refuge or even to turn off the electricity, which might help draw the men out of the compound in the freezing January days.

But the lack of confrontation by federal officials has not only prevented it from becoming the next Waco or Ruby Ridge but transformed it into a peculiar and mundane sideshow, a one-sided standoff where the militiamen’s days are marked by visits from wacky outsiders like pretend judge Bruce Doucette coming to sniff out “evidence” against the federal government and from disgruntled community members ready for the men to leave already.

By leaving the would-be revolutionaries to their own devices, authorities have given them enough rope to hang themselves.

In the last week alone, the militiamen have made headlines–not for forcing the government’s hand on federal lands or helping free the Hammonds–but for throwing boxes of dildos on the floor in protest against the mocking mail they have been receiving, for getting arrested after allegedly driving an official refuge vehicle into town to get groceries, for ransacking government files and for using government computers.


With each odd incident, the media and the public gets more insight into the individuals holed up at the wildlife preserve and their puzzling and incongruent motivations. It does not appear that all of the men at the refuge subscribe to one ideology or another. A report from the Anti-Defamation League actually chronicles that the men hold a hodgepodge of views and have some varying disagreements on how to tackle the standoff.

By taking a hands-off approach to the incident, the government has actually given the militiamen room to stew, to fight with one another and ultimately, to undermine their cause.

Take for example Jon Ritzheimer, the man who recorded himself throwing boxes of sex toys onto the floor at the compound. Before he appeared in Oregon standoff videos, Ritzheimer was not known for taking up land disputes, but for putting together threatening, anti-Muslim protests and videos. He was well known in Arizona for organizing a protest where more than 200 individuals –many with guns– showed up outside of a Phoenix mosque. In November, he once again came on the FBI’s radar for announcing he planned to travel to a Muslim hamlet in New York.

Kenneth Medenbach, the man arrested for allegedly driving a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vehicle into town, was actually out on bail for another seven-month government land occupation he was allegedly involved in last year. According to the Guardian, he was also convicted of squatting on government land in 1996 when the 62-year-old now chainsaw sculptor resided in a tent on government land and guarded his assumed property with “50 to 100 pounds of the explosive ammonium sulfate, a pellet gun, and what appeared to be a hand grenade with trip wires.”

The more outspoken, bold and hungry the militiamen are for attention, the more peculiar their standoff becomes. While federal officials have been wildly criticized for leaving the militiamen to their own devices, those still at the compound are giving feds plenty of evidence to help government officials charge them later.

In one bizarre video released last week from inside the compound, an ISIS-sympathizing, self-proclaimed video gamer from Ohio, David Fry, recorded himself using a Linux flash drive to circumvent password-protected government computers. And there are several photographs of de facto standoff leader Ammon Bundy ripping apart government fencing with his bare hands.

Over the weekend, one of the most outspoken standoff participants LaVoy Finicum– a Mormon rancher who has ceased paying grazing fees and has penned a right-wing conspiracy-ridden cowboy thriller – had several foster children removed from his family’s custody back in Arizona.

Photo: Snow by Jim Robertson

Photo: Snow by Jim Robertson

He claimed the federal government was taking aim against his family in retaliation for his involvement in the standoff in Oregon, but questions have now been raised about his motivations for fostering such a large number of children and whether such an activity is his major source of income.

Another man affiliated with the Oregon militiamen, Californian Darrow Burke, 57, crashed his vehicle outside of Hines, Oregon, in an embarrassing display for the militiamen Sunday. He was cited for driving without a license. A man who in the first few days of the standoff served as Ammon Bundy’s bodyguard – and who goes by the name of ‘Fluffy Unicorn’ – was arrested last week in Maricopa County, Arizona, for an outstanding warrant. One by one, the militiamen’s pasts are catching up with them.

Even the father and son pair they claimed to be fighting for – Dwight and Steven Hammond– have turned themselves into authorities and have begun serving five-year sentences for setting fire to federal lands. The Hammond family has said it wants nothing to do with the standoff at the refuge.

The longer this standoff drags on, the more the militiamen do that further undermines that cause and the more the federal government begins to look like they may have made the right move when the opted to deescalate the situation. Isolated from the rest of the country, the militiamen enter the third week of this standoff, free to cross legal lines and incriminate themselves on video tape.

Oregon Rancher ‘Heroes’ Accused of Child Abuse


Steven and Dwight Hammond, the inspiration for the ‘militia’ occupying an Oregon federal building, allegedly took sandpaper to their nephew’s chest.
A photo of a teenage boy with two bizarre wounds on his chest suggests that child abuser might be a better description than hero for the two ranchers in whose name so-called militia members have taken over a federal building in Oregon.

“Raising kids is like raising cows or dogs,” one of the ranchers is quoted as saying in a police report to which the photo is attached.

The photo is of Dusty Hammond, nephew of rancher Steve Hammond and grandson of rancher Dwight Hammond.

More: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/05/oregon-rancher-heroes-accused-of-child-abuse.html

Reality Check on Public Lands Ranching: A reaction to the rhetoric of the Bundy militia in Oregon


By On January 4, 2016

Boise, ID – Western Watersheds Project is disappointed that the government’s acquiescence to ongoing law-breaking on public lands across the West has led to the armed occupation of one of America’s premier bird sanctuaries. This weekend’s militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is another battle in the “War on the West” that extractive industries have been waging for 150 years.

The occupying militia is led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of Cliven Bundy, the notorious rancher who has refused to pay his fees for years and continues to illegally trample fragile desert tortoise habitat with his trespassing cows. The militia initially claimed the occupation was to support local ranchers and convicted arsonists Dwight and Steven Hammond, although the Hammond family has distanced itself from the Bundys’ recent activities. The Bundy group has moved onto generally railing against federal land ownership and legal limits on environmentally destructive activities like logging and ranching.

But what Ammon Bundy considers tyrannical treatment of grazing permittees is actually a generous welfare program: between 1995 and 2012, Hammond Ranches, Inc. received $295,471 in federal payouts. There is enormous subsidization of public lands livestock grazing. While the going rate for grazing a cow and a calf on private land for a month in Oregon is $17, the equivalent fee on federal public lands is only $1.69.[1] This artificially low fee creates a national deficit of at least $12 billion dollars every decade– hardly a sign that the federal agencies are trying to put ranchers out of business.

“The ongoing occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is a reaction to the perceived mistreatment of public lands livestock operators and other extractive users of American’s wild spaces. This perception is inaccurate, considering the systemic support and financial subsidies that our government gives these industries despite the adverse ecological impacts and profound debt they create,” said Travis Bruner, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, an advocacy group dedicated to ending public lands livestock grazing.

In fact, even the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is controversially open to livestock grazing use, despite the Refuge system’s mandate to protect wildlife habitat. The spectacular wetland complex is a mecca for birdwatchers due to its role as a major migratory bird stopover. Thousands of Americans visit the refuge each year to enjoy the unique species that frequent the Pacific flyway, pouring over $1.9 million into the local economy annually.[2] When Ammon Bundy promotes his agenda of using the resource, he’s overlooking the many Americans who “use the resource” to enjoy quiet recreation like bird-watching.

Widespread livestock grazing occurs on nearly 220 million acres of public land in the western states, and this is a leading cause of soil loss, species endangerment, invasive species infestations, and predator killing. Only 22,000 ranchers have the privilege of using federal lands for their operations, a business opportunity mistakenly referred to as a “right” by those that would seek to establish it as such. The courts have affirmed that there are no “grazing rights,” and the Bundys’ use of the term does not make it so.

“There are no grazing rights,” said Bruner, “but there are lots of grazing ‘wrongs.’ The federal agencies failure to rein in the worst abusers of public lands livestock allotments has emboldened people like the Bundy brothers and others across the West to take land management into their own hands. It’s time to stop caving in to their demands and manage wildlife habitat in the true public interest.”


Photos of the Malheur National Wildlife

Militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters

By Les Zaitz | The Oregonian/OregonLive The Oregonian
on January 02, 2016

The Bundy family of Nevada joined with hard-core militiamen Saturday to take over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, vowing to occupy the remote federal outpost 50 miles southeast of Burns for years.

The occupation came shortly after an estimated 300 marchers – militia and local citizens both – paraded through Burns to protest the prosecution of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who are to report to prison on Monday.

Among the occupiers is Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and two of his brothers. Militia members at the refuge claimed they had as many as 150 supporters with them. The refuge was closed and unoccupied for the holiday weekend.

In phone interviews from inside the occupied building Saturday night, Ammon Bundy and his brother, Ryan Bundy, said they are not looking to hurt anyone. But they would not rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them, they said, though they declined to elaborate.

“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy said.

“We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” he added. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”

“We will do whatever it takes to maintain our freedom,” he said.

Government sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the militia also was planning to occupy a closed wildland fire station near the town of Frenchglen. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management posts crews there during the fire season.

Law enforcement officials so far have not commented on the situation. Oregon State Police, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were involved.

Ammon Bundy had a video posted on his Facebook page calling on patriots from across the country to report to the refuge – with their weapons.

Pennies In ProtestMarchers pause outside the entrance to the Harney County Sheriff’s Office to toss pennies. The coins were meant to symbolize citizens buying back their government

The dramatic turn came after other militia groups had tried to damp down community concerns they meant trouble.

Brandon Curtiss, a militia leader from Idaho, told The Oregonian/OregonLive he knew nothing about the occupation. He helped organize Saturday’s protest and was at the Harney County Fairgrounds with dozens of other militia for a post-parade function.

The occupation is being led by hard-core militia who adopted the Hammond cause as their own.

Ammon Bundy met with Dwight Hammond and his wife in November, seeking a way to keep the elderly rancher from having to surrender for prison. The Hammonds professed through their attorneys that they had no interest in ignoring the order to report for prison.

Ammon Bundy said the goal is to turn over federal land to local ranchers, loggers and miners. He said he met with 10 or so residents in Burns on Friday to try to recruit them, but they declined.

Burns Protest Marchers including militia and local residents Saturday head for the Harney County Courthouse as part of a protest against government.

“We went to the local communities and presented it many times and to many different people,” he said. “They were not strong enough to make the stand. So many individuals across the United States and in Oregon are making this stand. We hope they will grab onto this and realize that it’s been happening.”

Among those joining Bundy in the occupation are Ryan Payne,  U.S. Army veteran, and Blaine Cooper. Payne has claimed to have helped organize militia snipers to target federal agents in a standoff last year in Nevada. He told one news organization the federal agents would have been killed had they made the wrong move.

He has been a steady presence in Burns in recent weeks, questioning people who were critical of the militia’s presence. He typically had a holstered sidearm as he moved around the community.

At a community meeting in Burns Friday, Payne disavowed any ill intentions.

“The agenda is to uphold the Constitution. That’s all,” he said.

Cooper, another militia leader, said at that meeting he participated in the Bundy standoff in Nevada.

“I went there to defend Cliven with my life,” Cooper said.

Ian K. Kullgren of The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report. 

— Les Zaitz


Peaceful protest followed by Oregon wildlife refuge action 

Associated Press