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Weekly Update from the Field March 4, 2004

* Update from the Field: Yellowstone Captures 300 Buffalo, Sends 145 to Slaughter
Action Items:
* Help us Pass the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
* Oppose the Buffalo Hunt--8 Days Left
* Write a Letter to the Editor
* BFC in Washington DC!  Save the Date! Save the Herd! Spread the Word!
* Contact Presidential-Hopeful John Kerry about the Buffalo
* Last Words

* Yellowstone Captures 300 Buffalo, Sends 145 to Slaughter
The past twelve days have been most difficult for the Yellowstone buffalo.  300 have been captured inside Yellowstone National Park.  145 have been handed over to the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and shipped to slaughter.  154 are being held prisoner in the Stephens Creek trap until spring, and 79 yearlings and young buffalo have been experimented on with an ineffective cattle vaccine, ear-tagged, and confined.  All at the behest of Montana's powerful livestock industry to "protect" cattle from a disease that Yellowstone's wild buffalo are incapable of transmitting to livestock. 

When will the state of Montana and our federal government recognize the importance of buffalo?  This question haunts meeveryday. As I watch another hundred buffalo have the doors of life close on them by government agents entrusted to protect them, my heart grows cold.  These Park Rangers with the buffalo proudly displayed on their badges should replace the buffalo with the domestic cow, because nowadays cows are taking precedence, even in Yellowstone National Park.
 
The "lucky" buffalo that test negative are thrown in a pen until spring.  This domestication process comes complete with ear tags for the millions of tourists who come to see the buffalo every spring, winter and fall.  Cows, cows and more cows cloud the national heritage treasure of Yellowstone and the national forest surrounding it.  All wildlife--the wolves, bears, buffalo, and coyotes--fear these holy cows, for when they follow their natural instincts, the cows bring certain death.  How long will the American people have to bear the costs of supporting the cattleman's way of life? 

Of all the lower 48 states of America, the Yellowstone ecosystem is the only place still filled with the wildness of all beings that were present before Europeans arrived.  The Montana cattle industry is demanding a zero risk situation on something that has never happened anyway, at the expense of the US taxpayer.  Elk carry brucellosis--and have recently transmitted it to livestock--yet they are not targeted as the buffalo are.  Elk are allowed to come and go across the park boundary at will.  On the north end of the Park, the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), after receiving 13 million US tax dollars to make their land available to Yellowstone wildlife, still insists on grazing cattle on their land and demands that buffalo be killed.  Give them a call and ask them why they're still insisting that buffalo be killed.  Their number is: (406) 848-9200. 

Another area of land owned by us the US taxpayers, the Eagle Creek Management Area, is designated as a safe haven for buffalo.  In contrast, to the West of the Park, on the Gallatin National Forest, the Horse Butte Peninsula houses a buffalo trap adjacent to a nesting area for bald eagles.  Buffalo are killed there every winter and spring to supposedly protect cattle, although the grazing allotments have been closed for the past two years. 
More than fifty Native American tribes formed a group called the Inter Tribal Bison Cooperative (ITBC) asking for live Yellowstone Buffalo for their reservations. Instead the Montana Department of Livestock, in an attempt at good public relations, donate the buffalo to Native Americans after they are slaughtered.  The ITBC this week asked its members not to accept and be part of the justification for the slaughter.  "We've been discouraging the tribes from accepting the meat, heads, and hides," said Fred DuBray, ITBC's executive director.  "It's too easy for the officials to claim they're doing these tribes a favor," he said. 

From a population of at least 30 million, now 3,000 is considered too many buffalo.  This number was not derived by science, but was a demand of the livestock industry.  These genetically and behaviorally unique creatures are being slaughtered, beaten, and caged out of their crucial habitat by the hundreds at the stubborn insistence of Montana's livestock industry.  It is time the madness stops.

Help us stop this terrible injustice by coming out to volunteer.  We are currently running camps in Gardiner and West Yellowstone, Montana. Everyone here is going out everyday and rest is hard to come by.  As much as I hate to ask for money, we need it more that ever. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your years of support.  Times are tough, but never as tough as it is for the buffalo.  Like the buffalo we will stand tall and survive.  Keep the pressure on and do something for the buffalo today.
                                                                                           
With the Buffalo,
Mike Mease
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* Help us Pass the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
-- Thanks to your efforts, we continue to gain cosponsors for H.R. 3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act.  This week, we are pleased to report that 63 House Representatives have signed on to this critical legislation.  Please check http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/3446.html for talking points and to see if your Representative has signed on.  If they haven't, strongly urge them to do so.  If they have, please thank them and encourage them to speak with their colleagues.  You can contact your Representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 800-839-5276, and asking to be transferred to his/her office.  Or, you can use http://www.house.gov/writerep to look up your Representative and send them an email.
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* Oppose the Buffalo Hunt--8 Days Left
-- There are only eight more days left to send in your comments to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), and oppose the state's proposed buffalo hunt.  This so-called "fair chase" hunt is not only unethical, it's not even supported by hunting organizations.  Just another tool to eradicate buffalo from Montana, it is all too clear that the MT Department of Livestock (DOL) - the agency that would authorize and manage the killing - wants to use this proposal to shift some of the focus and blame away from their involvement in buffalo slaughter.  Speak out today for the buffalo and let FWP know you strongly oppose this hunt!  Go to http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/press04/huntcomments.html
for talking points and contact information.  Send your comments in before March 12!

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* Write a Letter to the Editor

-- If you've already taken action on the two issues mentioned above - and even if you haven't - please write a letter to the editor of local, national, or Montana papers.  The editorial page is the most widely-read section of the paper - and that includes decision-makers - so it's a terrific way to get the word out, and demonstrate strong public support for ending the buffalo slaughter.  For a list of national and state papers to target, please visit
http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico04/030304%20write%20LTE.html 
If your letter is printed, please send us a copy!  Send your letter via email to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org or bu mail to BFC-LTE, P.O. Box 957, W. Yellowstone, 59758. Many thanks for your continued efforts on behalf of the buffalo.
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* Washington DC!  Save the Date! Save the Herd! Spread the Word!
The Buffalo Field Campaign is coming to Washington, DC the week of March 15th, and will join other organizations for a busy week of meetings with members of Congress, urging their support for H.R. 3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act.  On Thursday, March 18th, BFC field volunteers will give a presentation at the Georgetown Patagonia store.  We will show video footage from the field, talk about the plight of Yellowstone's buffalo, and legislation currently before Congress.  The event begins at 7:00 pm, and will be held at 1048 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC.  HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!  We want a large turnout, and need help putting posters up around town.  If you can help, please visit http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/flyers-east.html to print out a choice of three fliers.  Just fill in the When and Where information and post them everywhere!  Bring your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone you know who cares about buffalo.  This will be an unforgettable and inspiring event that you won't want to miss. See you in DC on March 18th! 
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* Contact Presidential-Hopeful John Kerry about the Buffalo
With Sen. Edwards dropping out of the race, it's looking like Sen. John Kerry will be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.  So far, the environment hasn't even received a mention in the presidential debates - but you have the power to change that.  Please write to presidential-hopeful John Kerry and let him know that the protection of Yellowstone's buffalo is an issue of national importance, and should be given due attention.  Urge him to support efforts to protect the buffalo, and to stop the senseless slaughter of these majestic creatures once and for all!  To contact the campaign office in your state visit http://www.johnkerry.com/contact/ or simply send an email to: info@johnkerry.com.   
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* Last Words:
"Enough is enough.  Thus far and no farther.  Think of your children.  Of their children.  Of the hawks, buzzards, lizards, bear.  Save a little room and time for the free play of the human spirit and the wild play of the animal kingdom"
~ Ed Abbey

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