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Weekly Update from the Field September 30, 2004
* Update From the Field (Woodcut Weekend Date Change!!!)
* Roadshow Updates
West Coast Roadshow Returns to Montana
East Coast Roadshow Calendar
* Park Service Vaccination Comments Due this Saturday, 10/2
* Last Words

* Update From the Field
Our West Coast crew returned from five weeks of presentations to find the season's first small herd of buffalo out of the park. The group of seven bulls has been moving in and out of the park for the past week and has been the victim of at least one hazing operation at the hands of the Montana Department of Livestock.
Daily patrols have started early this year as we keep an eye on these buffalo, and our small crew continues to be busy cutting and hauling firewood for the impending season. We've changed the date of Woodcut Weekend to next weekend, October 9 and 10, to allow us more time to collect the 40 plus cords we'll need to keep warm this winter. If you can make it, please plan on coming--the more, the merrier.

* Roadshow Updates
--West Coast Roadshow Lands Home
As the odometer passes the 6,000 mile mark, our cabin shines in the headlights. Five weeks, thousands of people and 20,000 newsletters later Josh and I are home. We arrived late last night and helped with final preparations for Stephany and Dan's East Coast Buffalo Tour. Please come see them if you can. With so many people to thank and reconnect with, you can imagine that we need a little time to bring it all together. Look for a full rundown of this years west coast buffalo roadshow in the coming weeks. Stacks of wood surround the cabin and a special thanks to all of those who brought it here from the woods. All winter long we will continue the thanks.

Fall 2004 East Coast Roadshow Calendar
Mike and Josh just returned from five weeks on the West coast, gaining support for the buffalo and meeting with old friends. After sending today's update Stephany and I will hit the road to take the roadshow east. We'll visit communities from Virginia to Maine, sharing stories and video gleaned from our eight winters in the field protecting the buffalo.
We have room in our schedule for a few more events. If you would like to help organize a presentation, fundraiser, or creative event in your community, or if you know of any festivals where BFC might be able to set up an information table,
please email Dan at bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.

10/13, Wednesday, Fredericksburg, VA
The Wounded Book
Amelia Street, Downtown F'burg

10/14, Thursday, Washington, DC
Georgetown Patagonia
1408 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Alex #202-333-1776

10/15, Friday, Baltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins Univ.
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
3400 N. Charles Street
Nick: nichols.nick@epamail.epa.gov

10/16, Saturday, Arlington, VA
Clarendon Day
Billy #703-969-8677
Stephany #703-221-1730

10/21, Thursday, Purchase, NY
State University of New York (SUNY)
Tracy: t2basile@bestweb.net

10/23, Saturday, Boston, MA
Boston Vegetarian Food Fest
Reggie Lewis Athletic Center

10/27, Wednesday, New Paltz, NY
State University of New York (SUNY)
Details TBA

10/28, Thursday, Loch Sheldrake, NY
Sullivan County Community College
Kathryn: kscullion@sullivan.suny.edu

11/2, Tuesday, Biddeford, ME
University of New England
Cynthia: CSimon@une.edu

11/4, Thursday, Portland, ME
Details TBA

More shows are in the works, please stay tuned!
For the Buffalo,
Dan Brister
* Park Service Vaccination Comments Due this Saturday, 10/2
Urge the National Park Service (NPS) to choose the "No Action" alternative.
The Inter-Agency Bison Management Plan (a plan that has resulted in the unjust slaughter of hundreds of buffalo) calls for vaccinating Yellowstone buffalo "when a safe and effective vaccine is available." To date, no such vaccine is available. Nevertheless, the National Park Service (NPS) is moving forward with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a remote-delivery brucellosis vaccination with the RB51 vaccine. Originally designed for livestock, RB51 has been proven ineffective in both cattle and wild buffalo. Why, then, aren't efforts (and taxpayer dollars) instead being focused on coming up with a safe and effective vaccine that works... for livestock?
The NPS is trying to make us feel good about their plan, diluting the seriousness of what they are doing by using terms such as "remote delivery" that imply a "hands off" approach. Yet, whatever you call it, the agency charged with protecting America's last wild buffalo will be shooting them RB51. The disruption to buffalo and the surrounding ecosystem will be extremely adverse. Buffalo that may never leave the park would still be victims of this ill-advised plan, a plan ultimately designed to protect the profits of Montana's powerful livestock industry.

This so-called vaccination plan will in no way help the buffalo; wild buffalo aren't truly threatened by brucellosis. The purpose of the vaccination plan has nothing to do with protecting the future of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. It is truly no more than a facade for the purpose of lowering costs of international livestock trade. In fact, Yellowstone's wild buffalo are relatively unaffected by brucellosis (a disease they acquired from domestic livestock at the start of the 20th century because of another ill-advised Park Service plan). They have developed antibodies, and have become stronger and more resistant to the effects of the disease. The vast majority (80 %) of the Yellowstone buffalo herd do not actually even have brucellosis, they merely have the antibodies that indicate their immunity. The only real threat to Yellowstone's wild buffalo in terms of brucellosis are the cattle industry and its dark champions.
The Park Service must hear from each of us, and be urged to choose the "No Action" alternative as their preferred alternative. The EIS is in it's scoping stage, so your comments will help formulate where the Park Service goes from here.

TAKE ACTION! The Park Service has extended the public comment period through October 2, so there is time submit your comments. Please encourage your friends and family to speak out for buffalo, too. Important points that will help you build your letter are listed below. Personal comments are most effective. Let them know how you feel and provide them with the facts! Send your comments by mail, fax, and/or email to:
Bison Ecology and Management Program
Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Mammoth, WY 82190
FAX: 307-344-2502
E-mail: yell_remote_vaccinate@nps.gov
The NPS must determine a few very real and very important things before moving forward. We must ask the hard questions, repeat the hard facts, and demand answers. The issues the NPS must address include:
(1) The effectiveness and safety in wildlife of a remote delivery system.
** How will the Park Service carry out this remote delivery method? Will they fly helicopters into the park, hovering over the herds, shooting them with bio-bullets? Will they place sharpshooters at the edges of the valleys, just inside the trees, take aim and fire? How will they know which buffalo have been "hit" and which haven't? Will each bullet contain some form of paint to mark each animal once struck? How close will they have to get to the buffalo?
(2) The effectiveness and safety of a vaccine for bison,
** Multiple studies on the safety and efficacy of RB51 in buffalo have been conduced in recent years. Don Davis and Phil Elzer, two preeminent researchers on brucellosis in wildlife, "determined that RB51 did not confer significant protection in vaccinated animals....the RB51 bison vaccinated with three injections did not differ significantly from the non-vaccinated bison."
(3) The human health and safety of park staff and visitors
** If we're talking about brucellosis, human health is a non-issue; Brucellosis is contracted by humans only by ingesting unpasteurized milk or by handling infected tissue (placenta, guts, etc.). If, however, park visitors are in the area where remote delivery is taking place, things could get dangerous. Buffalo may stampede, and when that happens... well, you might as well try to dam the Ocean.
(4) The visitor experience. 
** Already, park visitors are experiencing the domestication of America's last wild buffalo. The buffalo that have been captured, tested, and 'released' by the DOL and NPS are now wearing ear tags, just like cattle. Worse still is the fact that these buffalo are only allowed to migrate so far; Yellowstone National Park has become nothing less than an outdoor zoo. To add insult to injury, remote vaccination will have to somehow be 'marked" so does this mean that our buffalo will now wear paint as well?

1. Vaccines, including RB51, are a tool designed for use in livestock, not wildlife. Rather than focusing on Yellowstone's wild bison, efforts should be directed at cattle herds. The Park Service should place their focus on acquiring suitable winter range and migration corridors for buffalo, where they won't be threatened by Montana's livestock interests.

2. The RB51 vaccine is not effective in bison. Even APHIS (the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) admits as much when they write, "efficacy [of RB51] in bison has not been definitively determined."

3. Because the disease has little effect on buffalo and because wild buffalo have never transmitted brucellosis to livestock, efforts should be focused on cattle. The Park Service should get out of the vaccination game.

4. The EIS fails to adequately address the proposal's impact on Native Americans, who have an age-old and complex relationship with buffalo. Many Native American individuals and organizations consider the buffalo as kin, and find the current treatment of buffalo utterly unacceptable.

Thank you for helping our last wild buffalo remain wild and free forever.
MORE INFORMATION: Check out BFC's latest newsletter (Campaign '04), email bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org, or visit our NEW website: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
Fore information on the Park Service's plan, the following URLs will be helpful:
* NPS Project Website:
* NPS Scoping brochure: Details background and issues identified to date.
* Last Words
We encamped close to the river. The night was dark, and as we lay down we could hear, mingled with the howlings of wolves, the hoarse bellowing of the buffalo, like the ocean beating upon a distant coast.
--Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail, 1849

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