Cattlemen call for end to N.D. pipeline protests

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2016 -- The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council are criticizing the Obama administration for the way it's handling the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The groups say cases of damage to private property are increasing on land in Sioux and Morton counties in North Dakota, near the pipeline protests, including incidents of livestock being mutilated and killed. They accuse the administration of being negligent and are calling for the restoration of law and order.

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According to the Billings Gazette, authorities are investigating several incidents of cattle, bison and horses that have been killed or injured, some even shot with arrows and left to suffer.

LaDonna (Brave Bull) Allard, a historian and genealogist for the Standing Rock Tribe, which is protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, said it's preposterous to think protesters encamped near the project killed the animals for food. Butchering the animals would have been obvious and would have taken time for unskilled protesters. Many are urbanites who are vegetarian. She says the area is under constant surveillance from law enforcement.

"Most of this is gossip and rumor," Allard says.

Meanwhile, North Dakota Stockmen's Association's chief brand inspector Stan Misek says authorities are not any closer to finding out who is responsible for the incidents.

“We haven't received any information on who it might be. Every phone call we get, we follow up and go from there. Producers should keep an eye on their cattle and get them close to home if possible.”

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The Standing Rock Tribe and other Native American supporters are demanding that the route of the 1,170-mile pipeline be shifted away from tribal lands, saying construction is damaging culturally important sites and threatening the tribe's drinking water. The line is designed to carry as much as 570,000 barrels a day of shale oil from North Dakota's Bakken field to the pipeline networks and refineries of Illinois.

President Obama said recently that the Army Corps of Engineers was considering ways to reroute the pipeline.“We're going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of First Americans,” he said.

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