Feds Halt Roundup of Rancher's Cattle, Fearing for Safety

Officials, protesters faced off earlier this week

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 12, 2014 4:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – After a confrontation between locals and federal officials this week, the US has ended a Nevada cattle roundup early, CNN reports. "We have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," said Neil Kornze, director of the Bureau of Land Management, who was confirmed just this week. Some 400 cattle were gathered in the weeklong roundup; officials had planned to gather 900, the AP reports.

Officials prompted local protests when they began gathering cattle that were illegally grazing on federal land some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, CNN notes. The animals belonged to rancher Cliven Bundy, who has allowed the illegal grazing for two decades. At issue is a 1993 law that altered grazing rules in order to protect an endangered tortoise. Bundy now owes the government $1 million in grazing fees, officials say. Bundy counters that according to the Constitution, Nevada should be in charge of such fees, rather than the federal government. A videotaped protest on Wednesday resulted in officials saying they were assaulted while protesters said they were thrown on the ground and tasered.

Embattled Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, left, and his son Dave Bundy talk to a reporter in downtown Las Vegas April 7, 2014.
Embattled Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, left, and his son Dave Bundy talk to a reporter in downtown Las Vegas April 7, 2014.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, K.M. Cannon)
Federal law enforcement officers block a road at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Overton, Nev., April 10, 2014. In the foreground are the shadows of protesters.
Federal law enforcement officers block a road at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Overton, Nev., April 10, 2014. In the foreground are the shadows of protesters.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
John Banks holds up a banner during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev., April 7, 2014, 2014.
John Banks holds up a banner during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev., April 7, 2014, 2014.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
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