Intentionally shooting someone else’s livestock is a crime — a felony. Doing it to make a political statement and intimidate the owners might be considered terrorism. That’s what a Facebook page for the “Public Lands Hunt Club” is advocating, and that is causing concern and anger among ranchers and farmers in the western states. Is the Facebook page merely a spoof, as some observers claim, or is it agitprop aimed at fomenting the criminal acts it glibly professes to support?
The website logo features a photo (shown) of a Black Angus cow facing the camera, with the crosshairs of a rifle scope, in red, planted directly on the cow’s head. The site also features many photos of dead cattle that the Public Lands Hunt Club (PLHC) claims — or implies — are the result of their handiwork.
The PLHC has posted these club “rules”:
Cattle that are legally grazing on our public lands are to be left alone. PLHC members are to only target cattle owned by ranchers who have publicly renounced their grazing contracts designed to provide a minimum of environmental protections. Many of these ranchers are publicly known due to their actions and associations with the Bundy Family of Nevada. Furthermore, all cattle found in areas near or surrounding militia occupied lands are fair game. Ranchers abiding by their contracts and showing good land stewardship practices are off limits to PLHC member activities.
Shoot straight. Be safe. Have fun. ©2016 PLHC
The photos of dead cattle shown on the PLHC may simply be Photoshopped pictures taken off the Internet or agriculture magazines. The Capital Press, an agriculture news website, reported that the Oregon State Police have “no information of any cows illegally killed” or anything related to the PLHC FB page, according to an e-mail response from OSP spokesman Lt. Bill Fugate. According to the same Capital Press report, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is monitoring the page, but did not report any incidents. The New American was unable to document any specific cattle-killing incidents linked to the photos or claims of the PLHC.
Multiple posters on the PLHC webpage have expressed their outrage over the group’s support for criminal activity, but the PLHC’s typical response is to accuse them of being “welfare ranchers” and to tell them to “stop whining.”
“Welfare ranchers” has become a common meme among environmental militants, as has referring to cattle as an “invasive species.”
The PLHC Facebook timeline for January 29, 2016 says: “Official cattle count is now 16. Shoot straight. Be safe. Have fun.” Directly below that posting is one from a rancher (presumably) listed as “Wes Clegg,”who irately states: “You think this is funny they have been shooting my cows and horses and when I catch you guys there will be no law you’ll be six feet under you people don’t get it."
PLHC responds to Clegg: “If you are complying with your grazing permits you have nothing to fear so stop your whining.” By February 1 the PLHC claimed that its cattle body count was up to 23.
Anti-Mormon, anti-beef, anti-rancher, pro-vegan, pro-wolf
It might appear from the PLHC “rules” and some of the comments listed above that the PLHC opposes only those ranchers who graze cattle on the so-called “public lands,” but who refuse to “cooperate” with the federal agencies that manage those lands. However, the PLHC’s Facebook URL link would seem to advocate actually shooting not only the cattle of “welfare ranchers,” but ranchers themselves.
It is also apparent from numerous postings in the PLHC Facebook page, as well as the many extremist environmental groups and websites they link to, that PLHC views all ranching — whether on public or private lands — as pernicious and detrimental to Mother Earth. PETA, Sierra Club, Earth First!, Wild Earth Guardians, One Green Planet, and Natural Resources Defense Council are but a few of the far-left enviro groups that post to PLHC (and/or that PLHC frequently links to). Photos and quotations of the late Edward Abbey, the patron saint of radical “deep ecology,” “ecotage,” and “monkey wrenching” (enviro terrorism and sabotage), are liberally sprinkled throughout the PLHC FB page, including quotes denouncing ranchers, ranching, and cattle. Cattle ranching is repeatedly cited as being inimical to wolves and other "threatened" and "endangered" flora and fauna.
The Arizona Daily Independent reported that the PLHC’s vitriol “is especially harsh for those of the Mormon faith,” pointing specifically to a comment by a PLHC administrator to a posting by a critic: “Barbara would you please try again in English? We don’t speak inbred Mormon retard here.” The site is littered with many other anti-Mormon and anti-Christian comments.
How has Facebook reacted to the PLHC’s incivility, bigotry, and advocacy of criminal intolerance toward ranchers and their livestock? According to the Daily Independent, Facebook has responded to complaints and requests to take down the PLHC page with the following comment:
Thank you for taking time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for harassment and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards. Thanks, The Facebook Team.