Upon examination of the government’s trail of paperwork spanning a period of nearly two decades , between the Hammonds and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR), it is apparent that they were being persecuted by the federal government for simply insisting upon exercising their historical right to trail cattle. This began long before the controlled burn in 2002 and the backfire in 2006 that resulted in them being sentenced to five years in federal prison.
What is plainly “a long train of abuses” has been well documented by the documents obtained by those who made copies of public records (not classified) that were found at the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Though there were many more incidents, this review of the paper trail of correspondence between the Hammonds and the FWS , as well as other intergovernmental records, clearly demonstrates that abuse. This provides us a bit of transparency to the federal government’s treatment of those who had every right to their historical usage of those public lands.
On October 26, Dwight Hammond notified Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) at MNWR, some 30 miles south of Burns, Oregon, and explained that historically, he did not have to notify anyone to “trail” his cattle (for you city folk, this means herding cattle along a route from one point to another).
FWS attempted to impose a requirement that they be notified as to the number of cattle, the route, the time, and the date of such movements. The new policy also disallowed grazing off of the trail while the cattle were being moved, held Dwight to a schedule by FWS, and demanded that he obtain a permit from them for each move.
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