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Mr. Gardner says ranchers are frustrated because their research shows that the livestock actually benefit the tortoise, but that the courts have refused to take such evidence into account.

“I ask the people of America: Reconsider if you’re skeptical about the Bundy family, and look into the issue deeper yourself,” Mr. Gardner said. “Because I think you’ll find if we do not and we allow this federal government to increase its power and its jurisdiction further and further into the lives of everyday Americans, we’re very surely going to lose the freedom and liberty that America is supposed to be about.”