I hope this email find you well during these beautiful
summer months. The campaign has had a productive two weeks.
Our new newsletters are hot off the press and full of
information. I send a BIG thanks to Jim, Su, Dan, Mike,
and so many others,... thanks so much for your dedication
and all the hard work you do for the buffalo.
If you'd like to receive a newsletter and are not already
signed up to do so, just reply to this message with your
mailing address and we'll be sure to send you one right
away. In the meantime, you can download the newsletter
as a pdf file by pasting this address into your web browser:
Today an out of town Department of Livestock agent arrived
and meet with the local DOL agent. One buffalo has headed
back out of the park. He is the Cougar Creek Bull who
was out of the park most of the winter and spring. He
was hazed last week by the DOL and now is right where
he was before. He has made up his mind where he would
like to spend the summer and ironically he has chosen
the very neighborhood where the local DOL agent lives.
One of our coordinators wrote this poem about the charismatic
bull this winter:
An Ode to the Cougar Creek Bull
The solitary bull needs an ode,
In case you missed him just off the road.
He dutifully grazed near Cougar Creek,
All winter long, if you stopped to peek.
Captured once as you can tell by his mark,
His only crime was to leave the Park.
And yet there he remained throughout the year,
Defiantly grazing with no sign of fear.
An example of the wise bull's persistence,
An inspirational symbol of buffalo resistance.
A permanent fixture for all to see,
A reminder of buffalo, wild and free.
Summer tabling in Yellowstone National Park continues
to be a huge success. We are still reaching many at Mammoth
Hot Springs and now we are set up to table in Grand Teton
National Park. We will be tabling four to five days a
week at Moose Village.
The band Left Over Salmon played in Bozeman last night.
They let us set up an information table about the buffalo
and thanked us all for the work we are doing. We are grateful
to have their support and the opportunity to get the word
out even farther. Left Over Salmon will be playing in
Missoula, MT tonight and we will also be there spreading
the word and gaining more support for the buffalo.
We give thanks to all of you for keeping the buffalo
in your heart.
For all that is wild and free,
An Example of Why We Need to Be Here
Those of you who have been following the bison slaughter
know that Yellowstone National Park faces grave dangers.
According to the following story, the current presidential
administration does not agree.
From today's edition of Grist Magazine
BACK TO THE YELLOWSTONE AGE
The Bush administration has asked the United Nations
Yellowstone National Park from a list of endangered
sites. "Yellowstone is no longer in danger,"
wrote the Interior
Department's Paul Hoffman in a letter to the World Heritage
Committee. There's just one snag: The park staff disagree
Hoffman, saying Yellowstone still faces the kinds of
threats to water quality, bison, and trout populations,
-- that put it on the endangered list in the first place,
1995. But in its recent report to the U.N. committee,
administration diluted or deleted those problems, in
a move critics
say is emblematic of White House efforts to water down,
deny environmental problems across the board. "Tinkering
scientific information, either striking it from reports
it, is becoming a pattern of behavior," said former
Service Director Roger Kennedy.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth
Shogren, 26 Jun 2003
and the Cattle Barons
The Montana livestock industry has been spinning the
myth of brucellosis to justify the slaughter of the
more than 3500 Yellowstone bison they've killed since
1986. Brucellosis is
a bacterial disease that was originally brought to North
America by European livestock. The DOL insists it must
slaughter bison leaving the park to prevent its transmission
to cattle. But no transmission from wild bison to livestock
has ever been documented.
Brucellosis is not the grave threat Montana's livestock
industry makes it out to be. In Grand Teton National
Park, where bison and livestock have coexisted for more
than fifty years--and where a greater percentage of
the bison herd is infected--brucellosis has never appeared
in cattle. North of the park, in 1980, more than 900
bison migrated across Yellowstone's north boundary and
mingled with cattle near Gardiner. Fearing brucellosis
transmission, the state tested 810 cattle from eighteen
herds that had shared the range with bison and found
no trace of the disease.
In a 1992 study, the United States Congress' General
Accounting Office (GAO) concluded that Yellowstone's
bison pose no threat of transmitting brucellosis to
livestock. In its 1998 study, Brucellosis in the Greater
Yellowstone Ecosystem, the National Academy of Sciences
concluded, "The current risk of transmission from
YNP bison to cattle is low."
John Mack, a National Park Service wildlife biologist,
concurs: "There is no evidence of wild, free-roaming
bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle. The state
is saying this is a grave threat, and here you had all
these bison mingle with livestock and nothing happened.
Dr. Paul Nicolletti is widely respected for his work
on brucellosis. In response to a question about the
likelihood of transmission from Yellowstone bison to
cattle he responded, "The threat doesn't seem to
Brucellosis is a disease of the reproductive system.
In order for buffalo to infect cattle, the cattle would
have to eat or lick the placenta or birthing fluids
of an infected buffalo. Bulls, non-pregnant cows, and
calves-which don't shed such reproductive tissue--pose
no risk of infecting cattle.
A Wyoming Game and Fish official, interviewed in the
December 1997 issue of National Parks Magazine, remarked
that the issue boiled down to competition over grazing
rights: "If the public gets used to the idea that
bison, like elk and deer, should be free to roam on
federal lands, then it may lead to a reduction in the
amount of public lands forage allotted to livestock.
That's what the ranchers really fear."
John Varley, Yellowtone's Director of Resources also
believes the slaughter is driven by economics. In an
article published in the May 1997 issue of Audubon he
calls the bison slaughter, "a struggle between
the park and agribusiness, "a struggle which the
park," he says, is "losing badly."
Montana's livestock industry perpetuates the brucellosis
myth to eliminate competition from bison, native grazers
that have evolved to the West's arid conditions over
thousands of years. Livestock producers have another
myth to perpetuate. They would have us believe that
the West was made to raise livestock. The facts, however,
belie this assertion.
Montana contributes less than one quarter of one percent
to total U.S. beef production. Private lands in Maryland
produce as much beef as Montana's BLM and Forest Service
lands combined. It takes 73 times the land-base to raise
a cow in Montana as it does in Iowa. Montana is not
alone. Smaller eastern states, with more abundant rainfall,
support more cows than their western counterparts. A
cow can live for a year on two acres in the East while
the same cow would require a hundred in the West. Florida,
not exactly famous for its cattle industry, produces
more beef cattle than the cowboy state of Wyoming.
Subsidized grazing permits give ranchers control of
hundreds of millions of acres of federal land for the
artificially low fee of $1.35 a month for each cow and
calf. In the West this amounts to a little more than
ten percent of the $11.10 average charged on comparable
private lands. Nearly 80 percent of the land under Bureau
of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service management
is grazed. Half of our designated wilderness areas are
stocked with cattle. Overall, some 307 million public
acres in the 16 western states are leased to cattle
operators at a fraction of their market value. According
to a recent study conducted by the University of Maryland's
School of Public Affairs, the BLM's grazing program
costs $200 million to administer while generating just
$20 million in revenue. In other words, taxpayers are
paying ten times as much to support the grazing program
through taxes as ranchers are through grazing fees.
The livestock industry is holding Yellowstone hostage.
The bison slaughter is taking place at the taxpayer's
expense to benefit a handful of ranchers, and is forever
altering the wild character and integrity of our public
lands and wildlife.
Write you senators and representative today and urge
them to stop the slaughter of the Yellowstone bison,
America's only continuously wild herd.
To find out who your representative and senators are
visit the following web sites: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
For tips on writing to members of Congress, see these
Hold on to what is good
even if it is
a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is
a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when
it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.
...... a poem by Nancy Wood, Taos Pueblo, 1971