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Weekly Update from the Field April 14, 2005
* Update from the Field
* Last Chance to Comment on Bison Quarantine
* All in the Name of the Buffalo
* Call Montana's Governor Today!
* Who Will Walk with the Buffalo?
* Week of Action - In Preparation of the Boycott
* Last Words
* Update from the Field
Warm, waxing sun lengthens the days and melts six months of snow. Redtail hawks, white pelicans, osprey, Sandhill cranes, and bluebirds return. Shoots of new green grass, buttercups, and yellow buds on red willows spring forth. Ice breaks on the once-frozen lakes and ponds and brings otters out to play. Bees, ladybugs and ants come alive. Coyotes yip in the wee hours of the night and sing fertile songs to the waxing moon. Trumpeter swans practice jazz-in-flight. Bears awake, aware and hungry. And the buffalo, the wild buffalo migrate along their ancient paths as they have done since buffalo-time began. Hundreds of these sacred beings are blessing this landscape with their journey for greener pastures, fertilizing and tilling Mother Earth as they make their way. Beautiful pregnant buffalo, big-bellied and heavy with calf, graze for two, clipping the grasses perfectly, roots intact. Frisky young bulls dance and spar, challenging each other's masculinity, awaiting the rut. Energized and full of life, the buffalo play and enjoy this vibrant turn of season. This is spring around Yellowstone. This is a time to celebrate.

Instead, for the buffalo, it's more like a Witch-hunt conducted by motorized cowboys. Using taxpayer money, federal and state agencies perpetuate lies and do the bidding of Montana's livestock interests, all resulting in the harassment, imprisonment, domestication, and slaughter of the country's last wild buffalo. These practices are not supported by science or reason, but by greed, ignorance, and a desire to tame and control the wild. Why? Because they desire money and fear freedom. They use disease as an excuse to keep buffalo from eating grass they think is meant for fattening their cattle, and in doing so, continue a malicious war against wild buffalo. Their domestic cattle brought a disease - brucellosis - across the great water and gave it to buffalo and other wildlife. Only the wild buffalo have been the target of such malicious management ever since, even though they have never - not once - given brucellosis back to cattle. America's last wild buffalo are the living and dying targets of the ignorant and greedy.

This week was the worst the buffalo have had this year. 87 more were captured. 19 more were sent to the slaughterhouse, six more calves are being orphaned and imprisoned in quarantine facilities so scientists can conduct experiments on them, and 13 more were "released" onto Horse Butte - the same land where they are currently not tolerated by Montana. And these numbers don't account for the 51 that were captured yesterday and currently await their fate in the Duck Creek trap. Horse Butte is the buffalo's traditional calving grounds, national forest land belonging to all people and all wildlife - not the cattle industry. There are no cattle there, besides. Not ever.
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Video by BFC from 4/14/05
Montana Department of Livestock agents disrupt the spring bison migration on 4/13/05 near West Yellowstone, Montana. This week agents slaughtered 25 members of America's last wild herd.
(1:01- 2.0MB)

For three days in a row this week, we stood witness to these tragic events, and we documented as our sacred, shaggy friends were run off of their ancestral lands. These buffalo - many of them calves or very pregnant cows - were chased for miles by agents on ATVs, snowmobiles and horses, down snowmobile trails, along highway 191, into the buffalo trap that is permanently placed on the private land of Dale Koelzer. Even bulls who pose no risk of transmission were sent to the slaughter house. At least four buffalo who have already gone through this torturous process - with radio collars, shaved sides, and shoulder tags to show for it - had to do so again.

We lost one very pregnant female to "natural" causes, the officials say. Cody and I spent time with her on Horse Butte on Monday. We noticed that she was all alone, and she never got up during our whole patrol, not even when her family members were meanly hazed by her. We thought she was either sick or about to go into labor. She wouldn't get up, but she was huge with calf and alive. We had hoped to see the first red calf of the season on the Butte; instead, the next morning's patrols reported that they found her dead. She died of "complications" the officials say - and we can only surmise that the DOL's relentless hazing activities over the past month and more caused her to suffer in her pregnancy, and she is now dead. And do you know what they did to her? They hauled her beautiful body off of Mother Earth, and took her to the dump. We cried for her and all her relatives that are lost to us forever, all because of the livestock industry's greed and hatred for anything wild, anything they feel they must control. Wildlife "management" is an oxymoron, much like government "intelligence."

Given all the sadness this week, there is one thing that is for certain: the buffalo will come back. They do not respect these man-made lines drawn in the sand. They will return, and they will live their lives out as they choose, and place themselves where they choose, for as long as possible. They have already endured centuries of slaughter, yet they carry on. They embody strength, endurance, and an incredible love and respect for each other. They are awesome teachers and we should all strive to be more like them. At the very least, we should do whatever we can to defend them.
~~~
Our camp was graced with the presence of a Great Gray Owl this past weekend. She stayed with us for hours. Alighting her feathery-bulk from tipi to tipi, checking the woodpile for the many mice that live there. She is a hunter in the daylight, harbinger of change to come and usually a very elusive bird. Why did she show herself to us? What was this winged messenger from the Otherworld trying to tell us? Is it just coincidence that she arrived right before the biggest week of capture and slaughter we've had this year? Her kind have known the presence of buffalo for thousands of years; they have stood witness to the hard times, and realize that more are certainly ahead, but that change is for certain. As I struggled to write this, she appeared in the aspens again last night and today we awoke to fresh April snow. And just maybe her message was this:
Stay strong. Tell the world. Change will come. The TRUTH is on the buffalo's side.

For the Last Wild Buffalo,
~Stephany
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* Bison Quarantine - Last Chance to Comment
Please speak up for wild baby buffalo! Do not let state and federal agencies get away with imprisoning our last wild buffalo, making orphans and scientific experiments of them. For wild animals, imprisonment is as good as death. Quarantine equals domestication, plain and simple.
Comments are due tomorrow, Friday, April 15, 2005.
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/bisonquarantine.html
If you haven't sent your comments in yet on Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' "Quarantine Feasibility Study, Phases II and III", please check our web site for information on the plan, BFC's official comments, information about the ill-effects of quarantining wild baby buffalo, and contact information for where to send your comments. Please highlight the facts, and speak from your heart in your letters. Once wildness is gone, it is gone forever. For more info contact bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org.
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* All in the Name of the Buffalo
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle came to the Campaign last week to write a story about Buffalo Field Campaign. They spent time in the field with volunteers, and witnessed the hazing and capture of our last wild buffalo. Here's the story they wrote: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0405/news0405/041005.html
Thank you Nick and Erik for your awesome coverage of BFC and the buffalo!
~ Justine & Stephany
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* Call Montana's Governor Today!
Please make a phone call to Montana Governor Brian Schwitzer and tell him to stop the buffalo slaughter NOW. Tell him that buffalo belong wild and free in Montana, and urge him to do what is within his power: purchase habitat, give management authority to MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks, bring the Indian people to the decision-making table, respect buffalo as a wild native species in the state, and celebrate the wild buffalo!

Remind Governor Schweitzer that he has said that wild buffalo will enjoy "more tolerance" in Montana, and that the DOL is "ill-equipped" to manage our wild heritage. Remember, you helped put the pressure on him to cancel this year's hunt - you can put the pressure on him to stop the slaughter forever. And don't forget to send him your buffalo nickels, telling him to put it towards the purchase of wild buffalo habitat.

If you live in Montana, say so when you call. If you don't, tell him that these are America's last wild buffalo, and Montana should treasure them as a native wildlife species and honor them as a symbol of tenacious strength and strong family. Tell him you will not bring your friends or family to Montana until the buffalo slaughter has stopped once and for all. Make his phone ring off the hook for the last wild buffalo!

Governor Schweitzer's Phone Number: 406-444-3111
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* Who Will Walk with the Buffalo?
Eagle, Hawk, and Raven, Trumpeter Swan and Sandhill Crane, Blue Heron, Pelican, and Seagull…they will fly with the Buffalo.

Pine Tree and Silver Birch, Aspen and Willow, the Grasses and Sage Brush, Usnia, Lichen and Moss…they will stand with the Buffalo.

Madison River, Hebgen Lake, Duck Creek, Cougar Creek, and the Gallatin River…they will run with the Buffalo.

And the Buffalo?

They will walk for you…they always have!

So, ask yourself…Will you walk with the Buffalo?

The last wild buffalo need your help this calving season. Come on out to the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) in West Yellowstone, Montana and walk with the buffalo in solidarity with all that is Wild and Free!

Contact the BFC for more information and details on how to become a field volunteer this Spring!
* 406.646.0070 * buffaloatwildrockies.org
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* Week of Action - In Preparation of our Boycott
In two weeks, starting April 30, we begin our Boycott of livestock industry products. Though we are starting out the Boycott and highlighting it during our Week of Action, we hope you will participate indefinitely. We are doing this because the livestock industry - and those who keep them in business - are, knowingly or not, ultimately causing the death of the last wild buffalo, the prejudice against of wolves, coyotes, badgers, wild horses, prairie dogs - the list is sickeningly long. Livestock production is resulting in the destruction of our sensitive lands and riparian areas of the West, the pollution of our waters, and the sickness of millions of people. Consumption of livestock products perpetuates the cycle, and puts money in the pockets of people like the DOL and Montana Stockgrowers Association. The price: the death of the wild.

To whet your appetite and get you started some info is below. We will also be bringing you more each week, including essays from BFC veterans and some of BFC's most yummy vegan recipes that even meat-eaters love.

*Read this Book: "Welfare Ranching - the Subsidized Destruction of the American West." Check out http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm to purchase the book, and to get a look inside. It's huge, and it's FULL of incredibly telling photos.

The following link has specific information relating to buffalo: http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/wr_bison_roamed.htm.

*A Book for Kid's: "The Organic Adventures of Tucker the Tomato" by Rex Ortego and Amanda Moeckel. Check out http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/veg-parent/2003-June/000015.html for more information.

*Check out this Movie: The Peacable Kingdom - A Tribe of Heart Documentary. Visit http://www.tribeofheart.org for information.

*Try this Recipe:
JEN'S CONTEST WINNING BANANA BREAD
1/3 cup margarine (try Earth Balance, or anything without whey)
Sift 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour with:
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup broken walnuts
1 cup mashed banana
Mix well and put into a bread pan. Bake at 350 for one hour. ENJOY!

Thank you for participating in the Boycott in solidarity for the protection of our wildlife and wild lands!

Questions, suggestions and comments should be emailed to
Stephany at bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org
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* Last Words
"Take Montana's cattle industry, for example, whining about the supposed threat of brucellosis being passed to their sacred cows by Yellowstone Park buffalo. What a crock o' hooey. Everyone knows that, even if the disease COULD be transmitted to cattle (which has never been proven in the wild), it could only be passed by adult female buffalo because of the nature of the virus. Yet the Department of Livestock (aka "God") has seen fit over the years to slaughter hundreds of bull buffalo and calves as well. Has anyone ever asked the buffalo's opinion?"
~ John Potter
From "Yellowstone Buffalo, Wolves" March 26, 2001

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