American Liberty at Risk: Elk Rancher Rex Rammell Watched Idaho's State Government Trample His Private Property Rights, and He Is Issuing a Wake-Up Call to All Americans That Their Freedoms Are Imperiled

By Rammell, Rex | The New American, November 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

American Liberty at Risk: Elk Rancher Rex Rammell Watched Idaho's State Government Trample His Private Property Rights, and He Is Issuing a Wake-Up Call to All Americans That Their Freedoms Are Imperiled


Rammell, Rex, The New American


Imagine an America where anything unpopular is against the law. Not necessarily because it is causing harm, but because a group is offended. Someone could start the criticism with lies, wave the rally flag, and ride a wave of emotion to get the majority against the activity until the law was changed to prohibit it. Imagine all the things which could become unpopular, and consequently unlawful, if the majority ruled.

Fortunately, America has a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. The Founders realized that majority rule must be limited to preserve individual liberty. "A Bill of Rights," wrote James Winthrop, "serves to secure the minority against the usurpations and tyranny of the majority." Unfortunately, we are gradually losing our fights to ambitious bureaucrats in government who think nothing of using the power of government to destroy people. I know, because it happened to me.

I am a veterinarian who specializes in raising elk for my livelihood, on my 248-acre ranch near St. Anthony, Idaho. All my elk are tested yearly for both TB and brucellosis. Any elk that dies on my property, whether naturally or by hunting, has its brain tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). I have faithfully followed those state-issued requirements. The last thing I want is a disease harming my animals and destroying my livelihood.

Ranch elk genetics all originate from Yellowstone National Park elk. In order to reduce populations, the park gave elk to individuals and state Fish and Game departments beginning in the 1930s. Unlike wild elk where inbreeding of fathers to daughters and brothers to sisters occurs, elk ranchers carefully breed their animals for desirable traits and to prevent inbreeding. I breed for trophy antlers. Others breed for meat. Like any business, we follow the capitalist system of supply and demand, using what fits our individual operations.

Elk ranching is unpopular with a certain group of people. These animal rights activists believe elk ranches are reprehensible, akin to raising mink in cages for fur. To rally the majority, these activists create imaginary horrors of disease and genetic pollution. The misinformed believe their lies. The real truth is these people will stop at nothing, including violating private property rights, to gain their cause.

Idaho Governor Jim Risch believed the lies. Through an unconstitutional delegation of executive authority, and motivated by illegitimate reasons, he ordered elk that escaped from my ranch to be killed, violating my private property rights.

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American Liberty at Risk: Elk Rancher Rex Rammell Watched Idaho's State Government Trample His Private Property Rights, and He Is Issuing a Wake-Up Call to All Americans That Their Freedoms Are Imperiled
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