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Weekly Update from the Field July 24, 2003

*Rahall Amendment Narrowly Defeate
* "Bison Almost Not Killed" -- News Story
* Development Update
* BFC Plans East Coast Roadshow, Seeks Help in Setting up Events
* Last Words

*Rahall Amendment Narrowly Defeated
Thank you all for your overwhelming response to the last update. Hundreds of buffalo supporters made calls and sent emails to Congressional Representatives resulting in 199 lawmakers voting in favor of the Rahall Amendment to the 2004 Interior Appropriations Bill. While the amendment--which would have made it illegal for the Park Service to kill Yellowstone buffalo--didn't pass, the vote was extremely close. The final tally was 199 to 220. If you would like to read a transcript of the House debate, it is available on our website: http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo/politico/rehall.html

While we are very disappointed that the Amendment didn't pass, it is heartening to know that the Yellowstone buffalo have so much support on Captiol Hill. We will continue to inform lawmakers on the importance of the Yellowstone herd until the buffalo are given the protection they deserve. In the words of BFC supporter Brock Evans, who helped write the Endangered Species Act, this will take "endless pressure, endlessly applied." We need your help in generating that pressure.

Use the links below to find out how your Representative voted on the Rahall Amendment and either send them a thank you or ask them to explain their position.  

Find out how your Representative voted on the Rahall Amendment by clicking on this link, http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2003&rollnumber=383 and let them know how you feel about their position and the Yellowstone bison. 

Make a phone call: Dial *202-225-3121* and ask to be transferred to your member's office.
Not sure who your Rep is or how to contact them? Go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep/ (where you can also send an email).
* "Bison Almost not Killed "
by Jed Gottlieb
The Missoula Independent 7/24/03
In the conservation community, sometimes close losses are chalked up as victories. On July 18, the House of Representatives narrowly voted down an amendment that would have banned the use of federal dollars to kill bison. But the 199-220 loss demonstrates to conservationists that they're gaining ground.

"There was actually debate on the House floor of the Yellowstone bison issues, so that's encouraging," says Dan Brister of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "I think this is just the first step of many."

Executive Director of the Bozeman, Mont.-based Greater Yellowstone Coalition Michael Scott agrees that the debate and the 199 votes amount to unprecedented momentum.

"It was a remarkable showing and outpouring of support for a new issue in Yellowstone," he says. "Many in the Congress didn't know what they were voting for, other than they were voting for the park, and they were voting for the park's wildlife."

Sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the bison-protection amendment would have halted for one year the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service's killing of buffalo within Yellowstone National Park and surrounding federal lands. Rahall, who spent time in February touring the park with other representatives, has been credited with championing what Brister calls "a national, not just Western issue.""This is the last free-roaming herd of buffalo on the continent," he says. "That's of importance to everyone."

Neither Brister nor Scott has found much support within Montana's congressional delegation for halting the bison kill. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) led the charge against the amendment, which was largely supported by Eastern Democrats. Rehberg's worry is that bison infected with brucellosis will transmit the disease to Montana cattle, though there has yet to be documented an instance of such transmission. He's also suggested that brucellosis could pose a threat to humans.

Scott says he doesn't find it strange that his organization finds so much support in the East.
"Recall the history of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park," he says. "Had it been up to the people here, we would have never had the park."
The next step for Brister is to parlay the momentum into a greater awareness of the issue in both the East and West. Scott, meanwhile, wants to educate Montanans on Wyoming's method of letting bison that come out of the park mingle with cattle.
"As long as Montana maintains that position of intolerance toward bison, we will work to find alternative allotments for cattle, to lease private lands so there won't be cattle and bison together," he says.
* Development Update
Greetings! I hope you all enjoyed the new newsletter - it's definitely worth a thorough read in your favorite hammock under a shade tree or in your local coffee shop. If you didn't receive one or have changed addresses - send us your snail mail address at buffaloatwildrockies.org and we can fix that.

The Buffalo Field Campaign is a grassroots effort and we are dependent upon the generosity of buffalo allies to carry out our important work. Things are a bit tight after the newsletter's printing and mailing costs - so if you can help with a donation it will be put to good use. We are the only group with the buffalo 365 days a year and our presence is crucial year-round. 

A week and a half ago we documented the DOL's relentless hazing of a lone bull. Agents wasted tax-dollars to unnecessarily stress the bull as he tries to build up energy reserves for the upcoming rutting season - a crucial time for bulls to keep their genetic lineage going. BFC volunteers are also currently engaged in our 6th summer of educational tabling in Yellowstone National Park. We are talking with upwards of 300 visitors a day. We are also giving tours of the area and look forward to sharing our work with one of China's leading journalists when she visits later this week. We provide information to supporters on a daily basis as they express their concerns to elected officials.

If you can afford to support our efforts with a monetary donation, please send it to:
POB 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
or give securely online at here

As an added incentive two of our very talented (& long term) allies are offering bonus gifts from supporter to supporter....

The first two donors of $250 or more will receive a beautiful Thunder Hawk print from Renee Still Day - it is a beautiful piece of artwork. 

The first four donations of $111 - $250 will receive a smaller print of Renee's (a gorgeous horse or a small Thunder Hawk)
The first 9 donations of $38+ (keeps one activist in the field/one week) get a bonus of the listening pleasure of "Beauty of the Feast" by Eldorado Gene! this is a great CD for summer trips as my daughter and I discovered on a recent summer camping trip.
Thanks so much to Renee and Gene. If any other supporters would like to donate items for others in our extended community please contact me at bfc-programs@wildrockies.org
We can all share our special gifts and talents and in turn strengthen the good work for the buffalo
A special Thanks to S. White for the great kitchen gear and for all of you who have responded to the newsletter. 

The new t-shirts will be in from the printer in the next couple of weeks - so thanks for your patience in waiting for us to fill your order. These beautiful shirts are worth the wait.

Thanks to Jim Morris T-shirts and to Missoula artist Rick Sherman for helping to create these gorgeous shirts!

* BFC Plans East Coast Roadshow, Seeks Help in Organizing Events
Thanks to all of you on the West Coast who have helped to schedule presentations for our summer road show. We are currently finalizing the schedule and will send it out in a special update tomorrow.

For those of you on the East Coast, BFC Project Coordinator Dan Brister will bring the BFC road show your way in October. Dan will present the current situation faced by the Yellowstone herd through video footage, readings from his recently completed manuscript of bison-inspired essays, and open discussion. Our exclusive video footage will bring the reality of the Yellowstone bison to communities from Virginia to Vermont.

We are currently lining up East Coast venues for presentations. Please contact us at (406) 726-5555 or bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org if you can help set up a location for this compelling video, reading, and discussion program.

* Last Words
"The buffalo represents the people and the universe and should always be treated with respect, for was he not here before the two-legged peoples, and is he not generous in that he gives us our homes and our food? The buffalo is wise in many things, and, thus, we should learn from him and should always be as a relative with him."
--Black Elk "The Sacred Pipe"

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