Update from the Buffalo Field Campaign - Slaughter resumes....
In this update:
* Join us in prayers for the Buffalo - 10/23
* Update from the field - the slaughter resumes
* Friendly reminder
* Montana and Feds Release Plans for Quarantine of Yellowstone's Wild Buffalo
Extra - Extra -
* Press Release on recent slaughter
* Article - Montana gubernatorial candidate comments on bison issue
Please also see current news and press releases at www.buffalofieldcampaign - feedback is always appreciated! Together we are making a difference!
Prayers for the Buffalo
The Buffalo Field Campaign will be having the first prayer ceremony of this winter season on this coming Saturday Oct 23 2004 at 12:00 noon. We are asking those who receive this notification to join us in a few moments of prayer. Ehnamani will be us at camp and will carry our prayers this year for the Buffalo & our buffalo friends and family as we send out wishes for a peaceful resolve for our relations - the Yellowstone buffalo. This weekend will mark the beginning of our prayers for the buffalo and health for the volunteers.
We wish for all to take a moment and join us in this beginning.
We are all related.
From the Field - The Slaughter Resumes
DOL agents with the help of Park Service Rangers and a variety of law enforcement officers captured and slaughtered a buffalo bull on Tuesday, October 19. The buffalo was not tested for brucellosis before being sent to a Montana slaughterhouse. The bull was grazing peacefully on National Forest lands near the Lower Bear Trap housing development. DOL justified the slaughter by citing private property concerns. It just so happens that local DOL agent, Shane Grube, lives in Lower Bear Trap, so you might guess who made the complaint. The DOL also tried to justify the slaughter based on the fact the current population of buffalo in the Park is over 3000. However, the management plan clearly states that population can not be used as a justification for not testing buffalo until after the late winter/early spring count.
Ironically, the DOL helped remove the last domestic cattle from the West Yellowstone area earlier this week. Cattle will not return to the area for at least 7 months. There was absolutely no possibility that the slaughtered bull could have transmitted brucellosis to anything let alone cows that aren't here. DOL's and particularly local agent, Shane Grube's, hatred for buffalo have once again led to the unnecessary death of one of America's last wild buffalo. (see press release below for more info)
Earlier this week, BFC attended a town hall style meeting with Democratic candidate for Governor, Brian Schweitzer, in Bozeman. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss hunting and fishing issues in Montana. Schweitzer stated that he would like to see more tolerance for buffalo migrating into Montana to alleviate the black eye the state has received over the past twenty years. Schweitzer, a farmer and rancher in Montana, said that management should be guided by "science, not hyperbole", and that DOL is "ill-equipped" to manage buffalo in Montana. He went on to say that significant changes would be made to both Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission and the Board of Livestock to give more balance to these agencies. While not committing to a full recovery program for buffalo in Montana, Schweitzer's statements indicate that at the very least, the slaughter at the Park border would be a thing of the past if he were elected governor in November. (see article on our website for more info!)
Colder weather and snow are becoming the pattern now here in West Yellowstone. We are still trying to finish a few projects before the onset of winter including a root cellar that needs a few more hands for its completion. Many other buffalo have been out of the Park recently as well and we are running regular patrols. If you have some time and energy to stand with the buffalo and help us prepare for winter, please call or email us now for info about volunteering.
Special thanks to Dan and Stephany for their continued efforts to raise awareness about the buffalo on our annual east coast roadshow. We miss you and can't wait to have you back. To all the folks opening their hearts and homes to them and working hard to organize showings - THANKS!!!! Thanks to Anne H. for the great care package (yum!!!) and wonderful support. Thanks Jake for the help with our patrol rig and thanks to everyone for your cards, letters and donations that keep us going!
For the Buffalo,
The crew at BFC
With patrols running full time and Camp running full tilt again to keep up with all the field, legal, education, agency and research actions that need to be done to win this struggle - if you can help out with a donation (tax deductible) - please consider doing so. Many of our donors tell us they can't give us any money right now, because they've put it all into the crucial November elections. But please consider, we're your advocate and voice for this ecosystem for the long haul, both before and after November 2. Please make a contribution now, as things are tight and know that we will make every dollar stretch to its fullest in our frugal grassroots way!! Just go to http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org and hit the donate now button to donate securely online or send a check to Buffalo Field Campaign
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Thanks so much!!! We can't be here without you!
Montana and Feds Release Plans for Quarantine of Yellowstone's Wild Buffalo
On October 11, the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) along with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published an Environmental Assessment for the capture and quarantine of buffalo calves from the Yellowstone buffalo herd. The EA includes three alternatives: no action; slaughter of all captive buffalo after one year; and slaughter of half of the captive buffalo after one year with the survivors being held for phase two of the quarantine experiment. According to the EA, available at http://fwp.state.mt.us/publicnotices/show.aspx?id=696 the purpose of the program is to determine how accurate the tests used to determine brucellosis exposure are for buffalo calves.
The agency plans to take 100 test negative buffalo calves from the Duck Creek and Stephen's Creek buffalo traps in each of the two years of the experiment (buffalo that might otherwise be released). The calves will be held at a small, 400 acre fenced facility on the east side of the Yellowstone River north of Gardiner. In captivity, they will be subjected to numerous brucellosis tests that require excessive handling of the buffalo and will be fed hay to supplement the grass in the facility. Under second alternative, all 200 buffalo calves will be slaughtered after one year and their carcasses will be tested for brucellosis bacteria. Under the third alternative (preferred by FWP), half of the calves (100) will be slaughtered after one year with their carcasses tested for brucellosis bacteria. The remaining survivors will be held over for phase two of the experiment and an additional year of testing and captivity.
Urge FWP to choose the "no action" alternative. Let them know that the buffalo are not here for their "franken-science" experiments. Tell FWP that the domestication of America's only pure, wild buffalo is not acceptable. Instead of experimenting on our wild buffalo, FWP should focus on gaining habitat for the buffalo outside of Yellowstone National Park. Habitat expansion is a proven technique in reducing exposure to brucellosis. Quarantine, on the other hand, is an extremely expensive, unproven technique (a minimum of 2 million dollars) that will only lead to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of buffalo calves. If any buffalo survive the first phase of the quarantine experiment, after three more years, these domesticated animals will be released in some other place as "wild buffalo". More information on this latest effort to domesticate and destroy Yellowstone's wild buffalo herd will be available shortly on our website.
The comment deadline is November 11, 2004. Send your comments by email to email@example.com, or contact the responsible agents Keith Aune, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620-Phone 406-444-3248 and Dr. Jack Rhyan, National Wildlife Research Center,USDA/APHIS/Vet. Services, 4101 Laporte Ave, Ft. Collins, CO 80524-Phone 970-266-6140.
Article/Press release - be sure and write a letter to the editor of your local paper about this start up of another killing season at tax payer expense!
Montana Department of Livestock Captures/Slaughters Bull Buffalo
For Immediate Release: October 20, 2004
Press Contact: Mike Mease, 406-646-0070
Yesterday afternoon, Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) agents along with Yellowstone National Park Rangers captured one bull buffalo at the Duck Creek buffalo trap located less than 200 yards from the western border of Yellowstone National Park. The buffalo was chased across Highway 191 to the trap using horses and an ATV. The buffalo had been grazing peacefully near the Lower Bear Trap housing development less than two miles from the Park border for the past several days.
The buffalo was not tested for brucellosis before being shipped to a Montana slaughterhouse. Montana State Veterinarian Tom Linfield said that the buffalo was killed because of "private property concerns" and because the current population is over the 3,000 cap set in the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The 3,000 population cap in the Plan is an arbitrarily derived number that was reached as a political compromise. However, the Plan still requires testing for brucellosis and the release of negative animals until after the late-winter/early spring count. Only then, if the population exceeds 3,000 can the MDOL legally kill buffalo without testing between October 15 and May 15. The test that determines which buffalo are sent to slaughter only detects the presence of long-term antibodies to the bacteria. It does not indicate whether the buffalo is actually infected with brucellosis bacteria or capable of transmitting the disease
There has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission between wild bison and domestic cattle. It is a widely know fact that bull buffalo present no risk of brucellosis transmission to cattle, especially if cattle are not even present in the area. Ironically, MDOL agents assisted in removing the last domestic cattle still grazing near the Park's western boundary yesterday. Cattle will not be present near the western boundary again until the middle of June, 2005.
Today's capture and slaughter operation demonstrates the MDOL's refusal to accept sound science about brucellosis transmission in their management decisions and comes on the heels of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Brian Schweitzer's announcement that if elected, buffalo would enjoy more tolerance in Montana. In his statements, Schweitzer said that management of buffalo and the protection of Montana's brucellosis-free status should be determined by "science, not hyperbole", and that the MDOL is "ill equipped" to manage wild buffalo for the State of Montana. "Once again, the Department of Livestock has shown why we need a change of leadership in Montana. Hopefully, come January, this madness will come to an end," Josh Osher, Buffalo Field Campaign.
In the nine years that the MDOL has had authority over wild buffalo that migrate into Montana from Yellowstone National Park, 2,782 buffalo have been killed. Countless others have been hazed and captured by the MDOL with significant consequences to the health of the herd and those individual buffalo. MDOL's hazing and capture operations also inflict terrible damage on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem impacting all of the areas wildlife including elk, moose, trumpeter swans, threatened grizzly bears, and bald eagles.
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on and document every move made against them.
BOZEMAN DAILY CHRONICLE
Schweitzer touts hunting plan
By WALT WILLIAMS, Chronicle Staff Writer
Democratic candidate for governor Brian Schweitzer is proposing giving bison
more breathing room in their wanderings outside Yellowstone National Park,
although he stopped far short of endorsing free-ranging herds.
Schweitzer was at the Holiday Inn Monday for a town hall meeting attended by
local hunting and wildlife advocates. At the meeting he unveiled a
nine-point plan to protect hunting and fishing access in Montana, which he
said has been threatened by recent legislative actions.
As a case in point he used the Legislature's attempt in 2003 to overturn a
voter-approved ban on game farms. The effort died after it proved unpopular
with the public.
"The last time I checked, the game in Montana belonged to you, the public,"
After a short speech, the candidate opened the meeting to questions from the
crowd. More often than not, those questions came back to the issue of bison
Schweitzer, responding to a question from Will Patrick of the Greater
Yellowstone Coalition, said it was important for Montana's cattle industry
not to lose its brucellosis-free status.
But he said there were things the state could do to give bison a little more
room when leaving the park. It could buy out the grazing rights from the
single cattle rancher at Horse Butte north of West Yellowstone, for
He also proposed seeking private donations to purchase ranch land
immediately north of the park, while still allowing ranchers to graze their
non-reproductive cattle and horses on the land.
Still, Schweitzer didn't support letting bison wander north of Yankee Jim
Canyon, or the idea of free-ranging bison throughout the state.
When he wasn't fielding bison questions, Schweitzer usually was talking
about his plans to preserve hunting and fishing access in the state.
Schweitzer did most of the speaking while his running mate, Sen. John
Bohlinger, R-Billings, sat in the front row taking notes.
Schweitzer promised that as governor he would enforce and strengthen
Montana's stream-access law. He promised to preserve access to public lands
and oppose efforts by the Montana Stockgrowers Association to establish a
program that would provide wildlife permits to landowners for resale.
"If we make it all permits we're just Texas, that's what they've done," he
Another part of his plan is to renew the state block management program,
which will sunset next year. Schweitzer wants to make the program permanent.
He also wants to renew Habitat Montana, a habitat preservation program
funded by hunter license fees.
Many of his ideas will need legislative support and several local Democratic
candidates showed up at the meeting to remind hunters that they will be
electing more than just a governor this November.
"We need your help to get to Helena," House candidate Brady Wiseman said.
"The policy changes don't start in the governor's office, they start in the
Walt Williams is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo Field Campaign
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone - 406.646.0070
Info regarding the buffalo and how you can help at
http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo You can also donate securely there!
Send an email showing your concern for the buffalo to public officials at http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo/politico00/sendmail.html
"Stop-the-slaughter" buffalo updates are mailed about 3-4 times/month. If this is forwarded to you and you would like to receive it regularly - go to http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo/politk99/stssign.html
Contributions to BFC are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and support our aggressive, front line, grassroots volunteer work. We put the wild buffalo first! BFC is the only group working 365 days a year in Yellowstone protecting the last free-roaming buffalo. Please donate as generously as we are tenacious.
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