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Weekly Update from the Field April 1, 2004
* Update from the Field
* By the Numbers
* Letters to the Editor Needed
* Former Park Employees Unite in Opposition to Buffalo Slaughter
* Update on Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
* Despite Public Sentiment, APHIS OK's Buffalo Vaccination Program
* Support the Buffalo and the Buffalo Field Campaign
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Buffalo Supporters,
The snow is melting quickly in and around Yellowstone National Park and fresh green grass is starting to sprout on the Horse Butte Peninsula. The annual spring migration began earlier this week with dozens of buffalo leaving Yellowstone and travelling west along the Madison River toward the Butte. What should be a celebration of spring is instead viewed with dread, as the Department of Livestock (DOL) will be hazing, capturing, and slaughtering these very buffalo in the coming weeks.
The hazing season started last Friday, March 26, when DOL agents gathered on Horse Butte and began chasing a group of 20 buffalo from the Butte's upper slopes. In a blatant disregard for public safety, the agents initiated the operation by hazing two bulls directly toward a BFC patrol that was in the area documenting the haze. Fortunately the buffalo quickly outsmarted the cowboys and took refuge in an eagle closure where humans are not permitted. The DOL left town frustrated at their inability to haze or capture the buffalo.
They returned this week, determined to chase the Horse Butte buffalo to Yellowstone National Park. Why they are so insistent on keeping buffalo out of Montana is a great mystery. The DOL claims that they are protecting cattle from brucellosis, but there are never--at any time of the year--cattle on the Forest Service lands occupied by these buffalo. Even if there were cattle present, there would still not be a problem, as wild buffalo have never transmitted brucellosis to livestock. What's really at issue here is control of our public lands, and the Montana Department of Livestock is unwilling to budge and allow even a few buffalo into Montana.
The agents came out in force yesterday and hazed more than 70 buffalo from Horse Butte back into Yellowstone. In a bizarre incident Forest Service and Gallatin County Law Enforcement Officers confiscated the shoes of BFC volunteer Benjamin Yager. His soles, they said, resembled prints they'd seen in the snow near a log that lay across the Forest Service trail accessing the Horse Butte buffalo trap. Our volunteers have been the victim of frivolous investigations meant to intimidate them in the past but never have we had the shoes taken from our feet.
Below you will find more information on recent events, and concrete suggestions on ways you can help protect the buffalo. The coming weeks will be difficult for the buffalo and those who care for them. With your help we will stop the slaughter. Please read on and take action on behalf of the Yellowstone herd, America's last wild buffalo.
* By the Numbers:
Buffalo captured since 2/21/04 by the National Park Service: 464
Buffalo killed since 2/21/04 by the National Park Service: 266
Buffalo currently being held in livestock pens in Yellowstone: 198
Buffalo inoculated with livestock vaccine and ear tagged: 113
Buffalo captured since 2/17/04 by the MT Dept. of Livestock: 18
Buffalo killed since 2/17/04 by the MT Dept. of Livestock:   11
* Letters to the Editor Critical! 
We've been asking buffalo supporters to write them, and the newspapers have been printing a lot of terrific letters to the editor lately - thank you! This tool is an amazing one, as it reaches thousands of readers, including some of those rascally decision-makers, and helps put the buffalo issue in the spotlight where it belongs.  And that's when the powers that be begin to really pay attention. BFC's web site has a list of key papers to target, as well as tips on writing your own letters.  We've also pasted an excellent example below--let's keep up the great work folks, and thanks for your efforts - they ARE paying off! For newspaper contact info and tips please visit Letters to the Editor

This creative letter was published in today's Bozeman Chronicle:
Award winners named for park bison debacle
It is time to present awards to those involved in slaughtering wild bison. Their actions represent the best in dogmatic, unscientific and political management of wildlife and they do it with $3 million a year of your money.
Best Director: Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). Call 406-444-7323 and email at livemail@state.mt.us and heap praise on director Marc Bridges.
Best Supporting Director: APHIS Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service The federal version of DOL. Visit this Web site: http://www.aphis.usda.gov These folks also run the misnamed "Wildlife Services" that actually traps, shoots and poisons not only predators but also birds that have the audacity to interfere with agriculture.
Best Supporting Politicians: Call Conrad Burns, Max Baucus, Dennis Rehberg at 800-839-5276. Call Judy Martz at 406-444-3111
Best Supporting Agencies: Yellowstone National Park -- Cheryl Matthews, 307-344-2010;
Gallatin National Forest -- Becky Heath, 406-587-6701
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks -- Pat Flowers, 406-994-4042
Funniest Dialog: "The interagency bison plan made us do it"
Best don't say what you mean line: Lethal removal. i.e. shot.
Best lie: A tie. Cattle can get brucellosis from bison. The interagency bison plan is adaptive.
Best Buck Passing: The Forest Service refusal to even plan for bison occupancy on their lands. "The DOL won't allow it. Our hands are tied."
Best Obstructionist: We have a double winner! The Forest Service again for encouraging cattle grazing on lands adjacent to Yellowstone.
Best Supporting Characters: Those that raise cattle adjacent to Yellowstone and the slaughter facilities that finish the job.
Paul Griffin
Bozeman http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2004/04/01/opinions/bisonbzopin.txt
* Former Park Employees Unite in Opposition to Buffalo Slaughter
Great news, folks! A group of over 220 retired Park Service employees, who have formed an active coaltion - The Coaltion of Concerned National Park Service Retirees - just sent a letter to two federal big wigs, calling for an end to the buffalo slaughter. The Coaltion sent Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman a very strong letter urging them to find common sense solutions, and to "immediately impose a moratorium on the further killing of the Yellowstone bison." We are very thankful that these former stewards of America's national parks have taken such a strong stand for the buffalo. You can read this letter in its entirety
* Update on Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
You guys just keep on rockin' for the buffalo! We are very pleased to let you know that H.R. 3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act now has 88 cosponsors! We've updated our website to reflect the House Representatives that have signed on - please check this list out, and if you do not see your Reps name on there, please call, write, email, fax, visit them and strongly urge them to sign on. If you do see your reps name, please thank them if you haven't done so already. Letters to the editor on this critical legislation are crucial as well, so keep that pen in your hand and write on! For information on the bill and the current list of cosponsors please visit the Yellowstone Buffalo Protection Act Cosponsors. Thanks for taking action for the buffalo!
* Despite Public Sentiment, APHIS OK's Buffalo Vaccination Program
As if we really thought they had it in them to do the right thing, given this Administration and all. So, of course, true to their course, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has once again scrapped sound science and public sentiment and decided they will go ahead and vaccinate wild buffalo with a brucellosis vaccine (RB-51) intended for cattle, and one that doesn't even work. This is a huge slap in the face to the buffalo and the people. Please keep the pressure on, stay on their mailing list and contact APHIS - the agency responsible for this ridiculous decision - to express your disappointment and outrage.  Email them at regulations@aphis.usda.gov.
* Support the Buffalo and the Buffalo Field Campaign
At the Buffalo Field Campaign we have no high paid staff members or frivolous expenses--just dedicated folks working hard to stop the slaughter. The majority of our support comes from people like you who care enough about the buffalo to take action on their behalf. With lots of buffalo heading toward the park boundary and more than two difficult months ahead, your support is more crucial than ever. Below you will find a few creative ways to help BFC help the buffalo.
We all give gifts occasionally, so the next time you need a gift - consider voting with your dollars. You can get some great art, pottery, jewelry, photos, watercolors, prints, 100% organic cotton t-shirts, 100% recycled note cards, music and more at the Buffalo Bazaar and support BFC's work at the same time! Please take a moment and check it out. If you want to offer something for the buffalo through our supporter to supporter program - just give me a holler. The graciously donated Suburban is one of our main patrol cars and currently needs a new transmission. If everyone who reads this makes a small donation or buys a gift - we can get it fixed.
On another note, our computer cartridge recycling program has just gotten much easier! All you have to do is go to http://www.cartridgefundraising.com/ - hit the "collect for a cause" button and look at the options under BFC to collect cartridges in support of our work. All envelopes and boxes are easy to get to folks that use computers and offer prepaid shipping. The landfills receive less plastic and BFC benefits - a win-win situation, indeed.
A big thanks to all of you for all your work & efforts. It is my honor to work with such dedicated grassroots folks.
Together we will make a change.
For the Buffalo,
Buffalo Field Campaign Programs
POB 957
West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
bfc-programs@wildrockies.orgDonations are tax deductible and go directly to front lines work. BFC is the only group in the field 365 days a year with the last, free roaming buffalo.
* Last Words:
"Something is terribly wrong when the natural migration of the American buffalo, one of the most symbolic wildife icons in our nation, dooms them to be slaughtered when they step outside park land." 
- From a letter sent to Interior Secretary Gail Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman by the Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees, 220 strong.

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