Who killed the cows?
On the night of April 14, rancher Tom Kelly says
someone sneaked onto his ranch near Deming, in southern New Mexico,
emptied a water storage tank, removed bolts from the legs of a
windmill and shot 13 cows and seven calves dead with a
high-velocity rifle. Kelly says his opposition to Interior
Secretary Babbitt's rangeland reform proposal, and his outspoken
views on private property rights and the excesses of the Endangered
Species Act, may have made him a target of environmental activists.
Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces,
N.M., says none of the activists he knows are the kind of people
who would shoot "innocent victims in the range war." Tom Bill
Black, a state livestock inspector investigating the incident, says
drunken partygoers sometimes take potshots at livestock, but, "This
one seems a little more planned. They did their business and got
out." Kelly sent a letter April 18 to other ranchers detailing the
attack and warning them of the possibility of future "hate crimes."
- Paul Larmer