People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said those upset with the mistreatment of Cliven Bundy’s cattle by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should become vegans.
"These animals shouldn’t be killed either by the government, or by the rancher who plans to send the cows off to slaughter," the animal rights group said in a statement Thursday. "The best thing anyone can do to stop the suffering of animals is to go vegan."
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PETA issued a statement in response to public outcry over the group’s silence during the Nevada standoff, where hundreds of armed officials and contractors forcibly removed Bundy’s cattle due to a dispute over grazing fees on public land that was designated for an endangered tortoise.
However, a BLM spokesperson confirmed last week that two bulls were shot during the roundup because they posed a "safety hazard," according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Ammon Bundy said one bull appeared to have been shot in the back of the head from a helicopter. The family posted a photo on its blog Saturday of a dead bull being dug up from the ground, of what they said was a "mass grave" made by the BLM for cattle that were killed or died from dehydration during the impoundment.
"Digging up 1 of the HUGE holes where they threw the cows that they had ran to death or shot," the family said in a blog post. "I feel that this NEEDS to be put out for the public to see."
Michele Fiore, a Republican Nevada Assemblywoman and Bundy supporter, posted a photo of one of the bulls killed, and another photo of her nursing a calf back to health that she said was retrieved "nearly dead from BLM."
Fiore said she has heard of similar cases of the BLM mistreating animals.
"I have literally gotten e-mails from ranchers across Nevada telling me that the BLM does the same practices when they are herding horses," she told Breitbart News. "The foals are getting killed. Horses are getting killed. It’s really horrible and cruel. I don’t know any other term than cruel."
Nearly 200,000 acres of the Gold Butte, the area the Bundys have ranched since the late 1800s, were designated off-limits for the "critical desert tortoise" population in 1998.
However, the federal government has reportedly euthanized hundreds of desert tortoises because of lack of funding for its Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Southern Nevada.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said only unhealthy pet tortoises will be euthanized, but added that they are "deeply concerned about the growing number of unwanted" tortoises in the region.