Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mich. State Agents Raid Pig Farms to Kill So-called "Invasive Species"

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Michigan's Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has reportedly violated the Fourth Amendment by conducting two armed raids on pig farms in the state's Kalkaska and Cheboygan Counties. The incursions, which included six vehicles and 10 armed men, were apparently for the purpose of shooting all the farmers' pigs under the new “Invasive Species Order” (ISO) that has much of declared traditional livestock to be an invasive species.

In 2010, the Michigan DNR outlawed feral swine — pigs classified as non-native, invasive, and said to be carriers of disease and overall harmful to the environment. Though groups fought adamantly to overturn the ban, it went into effect April 1.

The new ISO now defines all open-range pigs raised on small family farms as illegal “invasive species,” and all farmers who raise them as felons. The MDNR declared that it would “destroy” all such pigs beginning in April, even indicating they would raid local farms with government-issued rifles.

Michigan officials issued a document that described nine specific traits for what they call “feral pigs,” which they indicated should be destroyed by April 1. One of those traits includes having the wrong color on the tip of the hair, or being born with striped hair. Other traits pertain to skeletal appearance and ear structure.

According to the document, the agency is by no means limited to the nine traits outlined therein. “Ongoing advancements in science may provide additional phenotypic or genotypic tools to aid in the identification of” the species, it reads. “The MDNR may use these tools as they become available.”

As a result of the order, MDNR officials were prepared to arrest two Michigan pig farmers on the scene and prosecute them, prompting what may only be described as a state-mandated animal killing spree.

One farmer, Dave Tuxberry, knowing the MDNR's plans, was forced to shoot his pigs before agents arrived in order to avoid being arrested as a felon. Natural News reports of him:

His livelihood is now completely destroyed, as the state of Michigan has put him out of business. Even after this farmer informed the DNR that he had destroyed his entire herd of pigs, the DNR continued to illegally acquire a search warrant by providing false information to a court Judge, then conducting an armed raid on his ranch to verify that the entire herd of pigs had indeed already been shot to death. That this took place satisfied the DNR, which is now showing itself to be engaged in the mob-style destruction of targeted farming businesses through its mass-murder agenda of Michigan's small-scale farm pigs.

Tuxberry's attorney, Joseph O'Leary, commented:

It was very traumatic for him. These guys are farmers, and I know how much he cared for the animals there, and the DNR treats these [pigs] like they're some kind of a plant that needs to be exterminated rather than animals that people care about.

I think this is an unconstitutional order; these actions of the DNR are way out of bounds. To take what was six months ago an entirely legal activity, and suddenly people are felons over it. They’re not growing drugs, running guns or killing anybody; they’re raising animals pursuant to USDA regulations and state of Michigan regulations. They haven’t done anything wrong here, and the DNR is treating them like they are hardened criminals.

Ron McKendrick of Renegade Ranch was also targeted by the MDNR and its agents. The agency filed a civil complaint against Ronald and his wife after they denied the agents access to their property without a search warrant. The agents acquired a temporary restraining order in order to gain access to the property — which Natural News notes is a violation of the Fourth Amendment — and reportedly interrogated his customers and his 75-year-old employee.

McKendrick notes that game ranches in Michigan are entirely dependent on hog hunting in order to sustain business, adding that hog hunting on his own property makes up approximately 75 percent of his business. Therefore, the order from the MDNR would effectively destroy all the game ranches in the Great Lakes State.

The Farm to Consumer Defense Fund voiced similar sentiments, asserting:

For more than a decade, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has worked politically to drive private hunting preserves out of business. However, the Michigan state legislature repeatedly rebuffed their attempts. Elected officials recognize how important private property rights are, and they were unwilling to prohibit landowners to raise and harvest animals in open areas. Now, backed by large Agribusiness interests in the state, DNR has done an end run around participatory democracy and declared swine with certain characteristics “feral” which not only includes animals raised at hunting preserves but thousands of other small farms across the state.

The intimidating thuggery, harassment, and destruction of private property practiced by MDNR agents has compelled Natural News editor Mike Adams to issue a call to arms:

I am hereby calling for the armed citizens' arrest of DNR officials who must be brought to justice for their crimes against Michigan farmers. Every agent of the DNR that participated in these raids must be brought to justice to answer for their crimes. If the use of force is necessary to make a lawful and legal arrest of these criminal Michigan government agents, then such use of force is fully authorized under the United States Constitution as well as the Constitution of the State of Michigan. In Texas, the state Constitution even says that farmers have the right to use lethal force to prevent someone from committing a felony crime against their property. This includes shooting horse thieves, for example, and being in the right to do so.

Likewise, a court hearing has been scheduled for April 20 in Cheboygan County, where a strategy for dealing with the MDNR reportedly will be revealed. Ron McKendrick, one of the terrorized farmers, will appear at the hearing.

DNR Director Rodney Stokes has attempted to defend the ISO in a statement.

Our intent from the beginning of this Invasive Species Order has been to enforce the law while minimizing the impact on individuals and livelihoods. For that reason, we provided additional time and assistance for ranch owners, breeders and others to remove prohibited animals from their properties prior to the April 1 enforcement deadline. The additional time allowed property owners to adjust their business plans to minimize economic hardship. We will continue to work cooperatively with property owners where we can.

Mark Baker (pictured above) from Baker’s Green Acres — another Michigan resident whose ranching operations have been threatened with destruction by state agents as a result of the ISO — is actively resisting the order and has recorded a video describing his family's farm operation and explaining how the state is threatening to destroy it. Baker told Natural News that he is determined to fight the state’s tyranny and protect his livelihood at all costs.

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