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’

Coyote-Kill Contest: It’s getting uglier around the Malheur National Wildlife

“This morally suspect male-bonding event is ecologically indefensible”

Scott Slocum
White Bear Lake, MN

Jan 15, 2016 — It’s getting uglier around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge this weekend. The Harney County Coyote Classic is coming to the area. Another destructive force. Spotlights and gunfire at night. Spin-offs into firefights? Best to stay far away.

Here’s some advice from Predator Defense on who to call:

“HERE’S HOW TO HELP: express your concern to County and State officials! Call the Harney County Sheriff’s Office at 541-573-6156 and urge them to either (a) cancel the coyote-killing contest, or (b) make the Wildlife Refuge out of bounds for coyote-hunt contestants. Call Oregon Governor Kate Brown at (503) 378-4582, or write at and ask her to act.”

Also, check out the information from Predator Defense on the importance of coyotes to intact, healthy ecosystems; and the foolishness of indiscriminate killing–not just in contests like this, but in all of its misguided forms.

Coyote-hunting foes oppose Harney County event
The third annual Harney County Coyote Classic will take place near Burns and Crane this weekend as planned, despite the ongoing refuge occupation nearby, authorities said Wednesday as they warned…

IBMP plan calls for reduction of bison population in Yellowstone National Park

January 6, 2016, 36 mins ago

between Mammoth and Norris in Yellowstone National Park in November, 2013. (Neal Herbert/NPS Photo)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Members of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) have signed a winter operations plan that aims to reduce the current population of 4,900 animals.

The announcement was made in a press release from Yellowstone National Park.

The park says that because the Yellowstone bison population has high reproductive and survival rates, it will be necessary to cull 600-900 animals to offset the population increase expected this year.

The population will be decreased using two methods, according to the IBMP:

(1) Public and tribal hunting outside the park

(2) Capturing bison near the park boundary and transferring them to Native American tribes for processing and distribution of meat and hides to their members.

The press release says that bison are a migratory species and they move across a vast landscape. When they are inside Yellowstone, they have access to all habitat. But in the winter, when some bison migrate to lower elevations outside the park in search of food, the surrounding states and some private landowners don’t offer the same access to habitat.

Wild bison are only allowed in limited areas outside of Yellowstone…

“Many people are uncomfortable with the practice of culling bison, including the National Park Service,” says Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk.





Why Are These Poachers Treated With Velvet Gloves?

by Paul Watson

These guys are poachers and in their defense, a group of armed thugs have seized a federal building to denounce the U.S. Federal government because of the conviction of two ranchers who burned 130 acres of public land to conceal their criminal poaching activities.

These are armed right wing anti-government anti-environmentalists defending the right of men to commit crimes.

If this was an occupation by armed Islamic militants the drones would already be launched.

If this was an occupation by Native Americans, the F>B>I> would be moving in aggressively right now.

If this was an occupation by animal rights or environmental activists, everyone would now be dead or in jail.

But somehow just because these guys carry guns, spout tea-party rhetoric, support Trump and the other Republican comedians running for President they are being handled with kid gloves.

Why the discrimination? Why the double standard? Waving the flag does not justify poaching, trespass, destruction of property, threats to civilians and law enforcement people.

There is a big why hanging in the air about this incident.

The question is, what the hell is going to be done about it?

Black lives don’t seem to matter. Native American lives don’t seem to matter. Environmentalist lives don’t seem to matter but cowboy rednecks lives who destroy public land and poach animals seem to matter.

This is rapidly evolving into a major national disgrace.

Casualties of the Vanishing West

Sunday, 27 December 2015
Written by 
Sonia Luokkala

By Sonia Luokkala, Earth Island Journal

Chief, a Kiger mustang born in the remote wilderness of Utah, lives with 400 other rescued wild horses and burros in a 1,500 acre sanctuary, hundreds of miles from his original home. Years ago the stallion was captured in a round up led by the Bureau of Land Management. After a long helicopter chase, he ended up in a government-run holding facility for years before being adopted by Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA. Not all horses rounded up by the BLM are as lucky.

Over the past four decades the BLM has eradicated or moved to holding facilities more than 70 percent of the country’s wild horse population.Over the past four decades the BLM has eradicated or moved to holding facilities more than 70 percent of the country’s wild horse population. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management – Utah)

The majority of captured equines remain stuck for years, if not for the rest of their lives, in cramped holding facilities that are quickly running out of space. As of July 2015 the facilities held 47,000 wild horses, and the BLM’s holding capacity is set at 50,929. Yet the agency is planning to remove another 2,739 wild horses and burros this year at a taxpayer cost of $78 million.

An example of an emergency holding facility for excess mustangs is a cattle feedlot in Scott City, Kansas. In 2014, a BLM contractor leased the feedlot, owned by Beef Belt LLC, to hold 1,900 mares. The horses were transported from pasture to corrals designed for fattening up cattle. Within the first few weeks of their arrival, at least 75 mares died. Mortality reports acquired from the BLM through the Freedom of Information Act show that as of June 2015, 143 more horses had died. The facility is closed to the public.


Washington Ranchers want compensation for reduced weight gain, low pregnancy rates caused by wolves.

by Don Jenkins

Capital Press

Published:October 16, 2015 9:11AM

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife file photo shows a member of the Teanaway wolf pack. Washington wildlife officials are recruiting livestock experts and conservationists to advise the state



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will form a board to review claims for indirect losses caused by wolves.

Washington wildlife officials are recruiting livestock experts and conservationists to advise the state on compensating ranchers for lost production caused by wolves.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to appoint up to five volunteers to serve on the new committee.

The panel will review WDFW’s approval or denial of claims for reduced weight gain, low pregnancy rates and higher-than-normal losses.

The department will make the final call on payments, but the panel will bring additional expertise and transparency to the process, WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said.

He said WDFW wants a variety of viewpoints represented. “Diversity is important. If it were all like-minded people, we’d need only one person,” he said.

WDFW pays ranchers the market value for livestock killed by wolves. The state’s wolf recovery plan also calls for WDFW to develop a system to compensate ranchers for livestock losses where there is no direct evidence wolves caused the damage.

Martorello said WDFW has not made any payments for indirect losses, but two ranchers have filed claims.

Volunteers will serve staggered one- or two-year terms. The committee may start meeting as early as mid-November and will likely meet about four times a year, according to WDFW.

Committee members will be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Applications and nominations must be submitted in writing and include a description of “experience in collaborating with people who have different values.”

Applications also must include the candidate’s name, telephone number, email address and organization affiliations.

Candidates should explain why they would be an effective board member and report their experience with livestock, natural resource management or wildlife conservation.

People or groups nominating members must include their names and contact information.

Applications and nominations must be postmarked by Oct. 31 and mailed to WDFW Game Division Manager Mick Cope, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091 or by email to

Petition: 2015 UN Climate Conference must address the impact of animal agriculture on climate change

2015 UN Climate Conference must address the impact of animal agriculture on climate change

There is irrefutable evidence that animal agriculture is a key cause of climate change. It is a leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions, water waste, water pollution, ocean dead zones, deforestation, habitat destruction and species extinction that each significantly impacts the climate. Any global policy that claims to address climate change without addressing the catastrophic impact of animal agriculture is neither honest nor effective. While awareness about the fossil fuel industry is gaining momentum, the impact of animal agriculture on the climate has not received the same global attention.
We call on Ban Ki Moon and the leaders of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference to ensure that the impact of animal agribusiness on our global climate is comprehensively addressed, and that an urgent action policy be created and made effective immediately.


Wild horses, On the Eve of Destruction?

Are We On The Eve of Destruction?

FREEDOM, A Fight Worth Fighting
Our opposition, the ranching and the mining industries, is well-organized, well-connected and extremely well-funded. They strike at animal protection laws, animal welfare advocates and pervert laws meant to protect all wild animals. Our wild places, and everything that lives and grows on them,  is under threat as new policies loom large on the horizon that will “make or break” the ability of wild horses to stay free on the ranges they now occupy.
2016 is a big election year bringing “political season” into the forefront now.
Learn to dig deep and ask questions.  Write letters and make telephone calls.  The answer is NOT roundups or wiping wild horses off the range!  The answer is NOT field spaying and surgical sterilization. The answer is NOT a resumption of “mustanging” and the resumption of selling wild horses to slaughter.
The answer IS accountability. The answer IS keeping them in protected areas on the range, supporting them in place, especially in rough times.  The answer lies deep in management practices that fail miserably to hold other interests like livestock in check. We must protect the very range our wild horses and wildlife depend on to survive.
Without you, this work cannot be done and our wild horses and burros
will become a thing of the past, just a distant memory. We are headed into a time where very soon we will see herds zeroed out or sterilized permanently under the guise of protecting rangeland.
Will YOU suit up and take the challenge?  Make one phone call every week to your Representatives. YOU must make your voice known. CLICK HERE and learn about what is on the horizon and take the challenge.
Wild Horse Education is a small effective force. What we have been documenting shows us that we are heading for very difficult times as big interests push to consume more of our battered rangeland for private profit. Our wild horses and burros are in trouble. We are truly standing at a crossroads that may lead to an “Eve of Destruction” of our wild places and our American wild horse. Please consider a donation to keep us in the fight.
Donations of $30.00  or more will receive 5 vinyl  4×8 “bumper stickers” as a thank you gift. (If you want to place a direct order for 50 or more stickers drop us an email at We wish we had the funding to preorder a lot of these for the coming year, but we do not operate with a budget that allows us that luxury). Please allow 3-6 weeks for delivery of your stickers.


Wild Horse Education has a track record you can depend on.
WHE works against inhumane treatment
WHE works to gain transparency

Dangerous Times

As tensions increase in the fight over dwindling resource, it is not only our wild horses and burros that face danger, it is those that advocate for them.
Please CLICK HERE to learn more and add your name by this Wednesday, September 16.

Current legislation that would facilitate the permanent closure of federal grazing allotments

 Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

[Livestock grazing allotments are often located on logged or burned-over areas on public land so fragile that it can barely provide for the needs of native wildlife.]

Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA)

The Rural Economic Vitalization Act (HR 3410) is the only current legislation of West-wide scope that would facilitate the permanent closure of federal grazing allotments. Upon the bill’s recent introduction, the organization WildEarth Guardians ( stated

“Representative Adam Smith is proposing real life, practical solutions to public lands management challenges. This bill offers an equitable, voluntary option for ranchers facing environmental and economic problems on our nation’s public lands and an opportunity for conservationists to restore critical wildlife habitat and water supplies. We support Congressman Smith’s efforts to resolve tough environmental issues in the West.”

If you’ve not yet liked the Facebook page for the legislation, please do so. And please encourage your friends to support it as well.

Meat-eaters may speed worldwide species extinction, study warns

Diets rich in beef and other red meat can be bad for a person’s health. And the practice is equally bad for Earth’s biodiversity, according to a team of scientists who have fingered human carnivory—and its impact on land use—as the single biggest threat to much of the world’s flora and fauna. Already a major cause of extinction, our meat habit will take a growing toll as people clear more land for livestock and crops to feed these animals, a study in the current issue of Science of the Total Environment predicts.

“It’s a colossally important paper,” says Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, who studies how human diets affect the environment, and who was not part of the study. Researchers have struggled to determine the full impacts of meat consumption on biodiversity, Eshel says. “Now we can say, only slightly fancifully: You eat a steak, you kill a lemur in Madagascar. You eat a chicken, you kill an Amazonian parrot.” That’s because species-rich habitats are being converted to pasture and feed crops as the human appetite for meat swells.

But others disagree that livestock production is the leading cause of habitat loss. “They’ve created [a] stickman to be knocked down,” says Clayton Marlow, a grassland ecologist at Montana State University, Bozeman, “without accomplishing anything for either the ecosystem or the poor.”

Previous studies have explored links between modern livestock production and climate change, water pollution, and the loss of some herbivores and top predators such as wolves and lions. “But how is it impacting other species?” asks Brian Machovina, an10405311_308608659330466_3235603653435958062_n ecologist at Florida International University in Miami, and the paper’s lead author.

To find out, he and his colleagues looked at studies that identified the world’s biodiversity hotspots—those areas that contain the highest percentage of endemic plant and animal species. Most are located in tropical nations. Then, the researchers picked out countries that are most likely to expand their industrial livestock operations, and determined where and how much land will be lost to grazing and growing crops to feed livestock. Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization and other studies about the production of cattle, pigs, and chickens in these countries from 1985 to 2013 and the amount of land the livestock required, they extrapolated the likely future expansion of agricultural lands. Finally, they created maps of overlap.

Many of the places expected to see the greatest shift in land use from forest to livestock are in 15 “megadiverse” countries, which harbor the largest number of species, Machovina says. “By 2050, given current trends, these countries will likely increase the lands used for livestock production by 30% to 50%”—some 3,000,000 square kilometers—the researchers estimate.

The habitat loss is so great that it will cause more extinctions than any other factor, the study notes, particularly when coupled with other deleterious effects of livestock production, including climate change and pollution. “These changes will have major, negative impacts on biodiversity,” Machovina says. “Many, many species will be lost.”

The trend toward meat-eating is already having an impact, the scientists say.

Citing other studies, they note that more than three-quarters of the land previously cleared in the Amazon region is now used either as pasture for livestock or to raise feed crops for domestic and international markets. And the rapid deforestation there continues: Another 1898 square kilometers of forest were removed over the last year. Further, more than half of the Amazon’s Cerrado, a woodland savanna ecosystem known for its rare species, has also been cleared for raising cattle and soy. Habitats have also been—and continue to be—lost throughout Central and Latin America for the same reasons, the scientists say, who see a similar future for Africa.

By revealing where the most flora and fauna will disappear as lands are converted to agriculture for meat production, “the study equips us with a means to quantify the costs of our dietary choices in terms of species loss,” Eshel says.

The study also “suggests potential solutions that merit serious consideration,” notes ecologist David Tilman from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who was not part of the work. To stop the loss of biodiversity, Machovina and his colleagues recommend that people limit meat consumption to 10% of their calories; eat more fruits and vegetables; replace beef—the most land-hungry meat—with pork, chicken, and fish; and change livestock production practices. But Tilman warns this won’t be easily done. “The challenge is to find solutions that meet human needs and simultaneously protect remaining natural habitats.”

Meeting the challenge of “feeding the world’s growing population with a shrinking land base” can’t be done without “intensive animal and crop production,” says Marlow, who argues that the real problem facing biodiversity is the loss of arable land to development such as urban and slum sprawl. He adds that developing countries are adopting industrialized livestock production because it’s efficient and “the only way we can feed the world’s growing population.”