Update from the Field:
The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) continued
this week in its relentless effort to guarantee that
visitors to the state will not see wild buffalo without
paying the twenty dollar entrance fee to Yellowstone
National Park. Yesterday, local DOL agent Shane Grube,
using a helicopter and an ATV hazed at least 13 bull
buffalo deep into the Park. After chasing the bulls
across the park boundary, the helicopter continued to
harass all of the Park's wildlife, flying over Yellowstone
for nearly an hour and a half. The majority of the area
where the helicopter operated within Yellowstone is
currently "closed to all travel" in order
to protect grizzly bear habitat. Apparently, neither
the Park Service nor the DOL believe that a helicopter,
flying at low elevations for extended periods, is a
significant disturbance to the bears.
Yesterday's hazing operation constitutes the 50th time
since September 2003 that the DOL has chased wild buffalo
back within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
While the DOL claims to have "successfully"
hazed nearly 1,500 buffalo this year, in actuality,
it has repeatedly harassed the same 200 or so buffalo
who continue to follow their migratory instincts by
crossing Yellowstone's invisible boundary into Montana.
Several individual bull buffalo were hazed as many a
fifteen times and one group of mama buffalo and their
babies were hazed multiple times by the DOL helicopter.
As we've all heard many times, the DOL claims that they
are protecting Montana's livestock industry from the
threat of brucellosis transmission between wild buffalo
and domestic cattle. However, a brief examination of
the facts prove that the DOL's activities are little
more than a veiled effort keep free-ranging buffalo
out of Montana. There has never been a documented case
of buffalo transmitting brucellosis to livestock in
the wild. Bull, calf, yearling and non-pregnant buffalo
do not have the biological capability to transmit brucellosis.
Recently completed studies indicate that there is no
possibility of brucellosis infected materials remaining
in the environment by late May. Domestic cattle that
graze on private land near the Park boundary do not
arrive until early June. During the fall, winter and
spring months when buffalo wander out of the Park, the
closest domestic cattle are over forty-five miles away.
It is time for the DOL to face the truth and stop the
incessant harassment of America's last wild buffalo
and the delicate, diverse Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
With the buffalo,
* Representative Dennis Kucinich Visits BFC
We were honored this week with a personal visit from
U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Dennis
Kucinich (D-Ohio). Rep. Kucinich took time away from
his busy Montana campaign schedule Tuesday afternoon
to travel to West Yellowstone for a tour of the park
boundary near Duck Creek and to hear first-hand accounts
of the buffalo slaughter from BFC volunteers, coordinators,
and community members. Standing on a thin strip of National
Forest land adjacent to the park border, we showed Representative
Kucinich the Duck Creek buffalo trap, shared stories
from the field, and presented him with photographs,
information, and video footage shot by BFC volunteers.
Kucinich, who is already a co-sponsor of The Yellowstone
Buffalo Preservation Act, thanked the Buffalo Field
Campaign for our efforts and vowed continued support
for the Yellowstone buffalo. Many thanks to Kucinich
and his incredible campaign staff for spending time
with us in West Yellowstone, and for championing the
* The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
HR 3446 continues to gain cosponsors in the U.S. House
of Representatives and companion Senate legislation
will be introduced in the coming weeks. For more information
and to view a list of the 103 cosponsors, please click
If you don't see your representative's name on the list,
please contact them and encourage them to support efforts
to protect America's last wild buffalo.
* BFC Prepares for West and East Coast Roadshows
With our field season wrapping up, we are making preparations
for our annual roadshows, when we visit communities
across the country and share buffalo-inspired stories
and video footage. This year we will travel the West
Coast from late August to mid-September and the east
coast during the month of October.
Last year, we had tremendous success attending farmers
markets throughout the region. We will again be traveling
with our 25x15x10 foot inflatable buffalo (requires
stationary power). If you are interested in helping
us arrange with farmer's markets or in setting up an
event, please contact us as soon as possible. Call the
BFC office or send an email to mease"at"wildrockies.org.
Last Fall we shared our stories and video footage with
hundreds of people at universities, colleges, community
centers, and Pow-wows from North Carolina to Maine.
This year we will do the same. If you are interested
in organizing an event in your community, please reply
to this message or write: bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.
* Letters to the Editor
This week's featured letter was written by BFC volunteer
Buffalo Hazing Nothing to smile about
Department of Livestock (DOL) spokesperson Karen Cooper
made comments about hazing buffalo that were out of
line and incorrect. Responding to the Buffalo Field
Campaign's gathering in Helena on May 8, where 278 headstones
adorned the capitol lawn, representing the buffalo DOL
killed this year, Cooper condescendingly stated that
BFC should "do 1,246 happy faces" for the
buffalo that were "moved back into the park from
the west boundary." The DOL has grossly inflated
their "success" because they've hazed no more
than 100 of the same buffalo over and over again. Hazing
operations are cruel, fruitless, and disruptive to the
entire ecosystem. Not to mention 100 percent federally
funded. Taxpayers spend three million annually for "cowboys"
to chase buffalo with ATVs, snowmobiles, horses, and
helicopters, fiercely running them through barbed wire
fences, back into Yellowstone until they are exhausted.
Pregnant moms and calves suffer the same treatment,
and last year two calves died from being hazed; nothing
to smile about. DOL plays cowboy while you and I pay
for them to disrespect America's last wild buffalo.
Maybe hazing is better than slaughter, but it is still
unacceptable. Buffalo will roam free again, and that,
Ms. Cooper, is when we'll put on those happy faces.
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, Montana
Helena Independent Record - Helena,MT,USA
* Last Words
"There will come a day when such men as myself
will view the slaughter of innocent creatures as horrible
a crime as the murder of his fellow man. Our task must
be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature
and its beauty."
The Buffalo Field Campaign is a grassroots effort comprised
of volunteers and supporters from across the country
and around the world. Our continued existence hinges
on the support of people like you. Tax-deductible contributions
allow us to be in the field with the buffalo 365 days
a year and to work through a variety of channels to
gain lasting protection for America's last wild buffalo.
Please contact us for more information or send a donation
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758