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Weekly Update from the Field October 21, 2004
*Join us in prayers for the Buffalo - 10/23
*Update from the field - the slaughter resumes
*Friendly reminder
*Montana and Feds Release Plans for Quarantine of Yellowstone's Wild Buffalo

Prayers for the Buffalo
The Buffalo Field Campaign will be having the first prayer ceremony of this winter season on this coming Saturday Oct 23 2004 at 12:00 noon. We are asking those who receive this notification to join us in a few moments of prayer. Ehnamani will be with us at camp and will carry our prayers this year for the Buffalo & our buffalo friends and family as we send out wishes for a peaceful resolve for our relations - the Yellowstone buffalo. This weekend will mark the beginning of our prayers for the buffalo and health for the volunteers.
We wish for all to take a moment and join us in this beginning.
We are all related.
From the Field - The Slaughter Resumes
DOL agents with the help of Park Service Rangers and a variety of law enforcement officers captured and slaughtered a buffalo bull on Tuesday, October 19. The buffalo was not tested for brucellosis before being sent to a Montana slaughterhouse. The bull was grazing peacefully on National Forest lands near the Lower Bear Trap housing development. DOL justified the slaughter by citing private property concerns. It just so happens that local DOL agent, Shane Grube, lives in Lower Bear Trap, so you might guess who made the complaint. The DOL also tried to justify the slaughter based on the fact the current population of buffalo in the Park is over 3000. However, the management plan clearly states that population can not be used as a justification for not testing buffalo until after the late winter/early spring count.

Ironically, the DOL helped remove the last domestic cattle from the West Yellowstone area earlier this week. Cattle will not return to the area for at least 7 months. There was absolutely no possibility that the slaughtered bull could have transmitted brucellosis to anything let alone cows that aren't here. DOL's and particularly local agent, Shane Grube's, hatred for buffalo have once again led to the unnecessary death of one of America's last wild buffalo. (see press release below for more info)

Earlier this week, BFC attended a town hall style meeting with Democratic candidate for Governor, Brian Schweitzer, in Bozeman. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss hunting and fishing issues in Montana. Schweitzer stated that he would like to see more tolerance for buffalo migrating into Montana to alleviate the black eye the state has received over the past twenty years. Schweitzer, a farmer and rancher in Montana, said that management should be guided by "science, not hyperbole", and that DOL is "ill-equipped" to manage buffalo in Montana. He went on to say that significant changes would be made to both Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission and the Board of Livestock to give more balance to these agencies. While not committing to a full recovery program for buffalo in Montana, Schweitzer's statements indicate that at the very least, the slaughter at the Park border would be a thing of the past if he were elected governor in November. (see article on our website for more info!)

Colder weather and snow are becoming the pattern now here in West Yellowstone. We are still trying to finish a few projects before the onset of winter including a root cellar that needs a few more hands for its completion. Many other buffalo have been out of the Park recently as well and we are running regular patrols. If you have some time and energy to stand with the buffalo and help us prepare for winter, please call or email us now for info about volunteering.

Special thanks to Dan and Stephany for their continued efforts to raise awareness about the buffalo on our annual east coast roadshow. We miss you and can't wait to have you back. To all the folks opening their hearts and homes to them and working hard to organize showings - THANKS!!!! Thanks to Anne H. for the great care package (yum!!!) and wonderful support. Thanks Jake for the help with our patrol rig and thanks to everyone for your cards, letters and donations that keep us going!
For the Buffalo,
The crew at BFC
Friendly Reminder
With patrols running full time and Camp running full tilt again to keep up with all the field, legal, education, agency and research actions that need to be done to win this struggle - if you can help out with a donation (tax deductible) - please consider doing so. Many of our donors tell us they can't give us any money right now, because they've put it all into the crucial November elections. But please consider, we're your advocate and voice for this ecosystem for the long haul, both before and after November 2. Please make a contribution now, as things are tight and know that we will make every dollar stretch to its fullest in our frugal grassroots way!! Just go to www.buffalofieldcampaign.org and hit the donate now button to donate securely online or send a check to Buffalo Field Campaign
POB 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Thanks so much!!! We can't be here without you!
Montana and Feds Release Plans for Quarantine of Yellowstone's Wild Buffalo
On October 11, the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) along with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published an Environmental Assessment for the capture and quarantine of buffalo calves from the Yellowstone buffalo herd. The EA includes three alternatives: no action; slaughter of all captive buffalo after one year; and slaughter of half of the captive buffalo after one year with the survivors being held for phase two of the quarantine experiment. According to the EA, available at http://fwp.state.mt.us/publicnotices/show.aspx?id=696 the purpose of the program is to determine how accurate the tests used to determine brucellosis exposure are for buffalo calves. 

The agency plans to take 100 test negative buffalo calves from the Duck Creek and Stephen's Creek buffalo traps in each of the two years of the experiment (buffalo that might otherwise be released). The calves will be held at a small, 400 acre fenced facility on the east side of the Yellowstone River north of Gardiner. In captivity, they will be subjected to numerous brucellosis tests that require excessive handling of the buffalo and will be fed hay to supplement the grass in the facility. Under second alternative, all 200 buffalo calves will be slaughtered after one year and their carcasses will be tested for brucellosis bacteria. Under the third alternative (preferred by FWP), half of the calves (100) will be slaughtered after one year with their carcasses tested for brucellosis bacteria. The remaining survivors will be held over for phase two of the experiment and an additional year of testing and captivity.

Urge FWP to choose the "no action" alternative. Let them know that the buffalo are not here for their "franken-science" experiments. Tell FWP that the domestication of America's only pure, wild buffalo is not acceptable. Instead of experimenting on our wild buffalo, FWP should focus on gaining habitat for the buffalo outside of Yellowstone National Park. Habitat expansion is a proven technique in reducing exposure to brucellosis. Quarantine, on the other hand, is an extremely expensive, unproven technique (a minimum of 2 million dollars) that will only lead to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of buffalo calves. If any buffalo survive the first phase of the quarantine experiment, after three more years, these domesticated animals will be released in some other place as "wild buffalo". More information on this latest effort to domesticate and destroy Yellowstone's wild buffalo herd will be available shortly on our website.

The comment deadline is November 11, 2004.
Send your comments by email to kaune@state.mt.us, or contact the responsible agents Keith Aune, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620-Phone 406-444-3248 and Dr. Jack Rhyan, National Wildlife Research Center,USDA/APHIS/Vet. Services, 4101 Laporte Ave, Ft. Collins, CO 80524-Phone 970-266-6140.

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