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Weekly Update from the Field December 9, 2004
* Update from the Field
* Take Action! DOL Releases Plan to Vaccinate Wild Buffalo
* Letters to the Editor Needed
* BFC on American Indian Movement Today
* Help! We Need a Good, Working Car!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
This week things went better for our buffalo friends.  The Department of Livestock (DOL) came to town on Monday, ready for a week of harassing buffalo and wasting taxpayer dollars.  Waste taxpayer dollars they certainly did, but they never got to harass any buffalo.  On Monday a DOL agent along with a National Park Service cohort went out on horseback to scour the Yellowstone Village housing area, near Horse Butte, looking for any buffalo that may have dared come out of the park.  Buffalo harassment operations were underway, with US Forest Service law enforcement there to back up their deeds.  They searched and searched, but the buffalo eluded them.  Yesterday, the DOL left town empty-handed. Of course, they'll be back next week, and we'll be here ready to document their inhumane actions.

We send our heartfelt thanks to two strong buffalo warriors, Su and Rosalie, who trekked to Washington, DC last week to represent the buffalo.  Welcome home!  Thank you for making the journey and for your integrity in your efforts on behalf of the buffalo.

As we move into another season, the agencies working against the buffalo are making big, nasty plans.  Next Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission will meet to make the final decision on whether or not there will be a buffalo "hunt."  Should they approve these plans (and we think they will, even given the mass opposition), they'll set the hunting regulations that day.  It wouldn't hurt to make one last phone call to FWP to express your opposition to this proposed canned hunt.  The message is simple:  No habitat, no hunt!  Call (406) 994-4042. 

On another front, the DOL has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) on vaccinating wild buffalo.  All the details on that are below.

Gaining lasting protection for the buffalo will take time and perseverance.  This lesson is painfully evident out here in the field, but we really are making incredible headway.  And, we have the best teachers around: the buffalo.  Their gentle wisdom guides us forward.   The buffalo share with us their gifts of endurance, patience, and resistance, and remind us that to fail is no more than not to try.  We will never give up.

For the Buffalo,
* Take Action!  DOL Releases Plan to Vaccinate Wild Buffalo
The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for brucellosis vaccination of captured calf and yearling buffalo. The DOL plans to hold the buffalo in capture facilities and inject them with RB51, a vaccine designed for domestic cattle and proven ineffective in buffalo.   Buffalo will continue to be slaughtered as they search for food in the winter and spring, and will continue to suffer the consequences of capture and torture even when they test negative for brucellosis antibodies.  Wild buffalo that are eventually released will be pinned with permanent metal ear tags.  All of these actions seriously degrade their wild character, and none will benefit the buffalo. DOL's vaccination program is nothing more than a smoke-screen for the continued, perpetual capture and slaughter of America's last wild buffalo as they migrate across the invisible and arbitrary boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.  Vaccination of the wild Yellowstone buffalo serves only to benefit the livestock industry and their foot-soldiers from the Montana Department of Livestock who will carry out the program. 

Take Action!  Please take the time to send your comments to the DOL and urge them to choose the "no action" alternative.  Written comments are due by Jan. 5, 2005.  Comments can be mailed, faxed or emailed to Karen Cooper, Information Officer, Montana Department of Livestock, PO Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001, fax number 406-444-4316, email address Livcomments@state.mt.us

Details on this bad plan, and important talking points are located at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/science/vacdolcomments.html.
Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard!
* Letters to the Editor Needed
The media widely covered the DOL's plans to vaccinate the last wild buffalo in the press this week, and another story ran regarding buffalo populations in Yellowstone reaching a record high.  We really need you to write letters to the editor in response to these stories, so that the truth is told and the public is aware of the realities.  Links to two news stories are below, and your letters should be sent directly to these papers.
Bison numbers in Yellowstone at historic high - 12/06/04
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0405/news0405/1206042.html.  BFC maintains that going from nearly 50 million to 4,000 is no were near too many buffalo.  The boundaries of Yellowstone National Park don't reflect the ecosystem, and the park provides poor winter forage for wildlife, including buffalo.  Learn more about why there are not "too many" buffalo by going to http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/factsheets/overpopulation.html
Livestock department proposes vaccinating bison that leave Yellowstone - 12/4/04
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0405/news0405/120504.html.  Use the talking points detailed in the section above ("DOL Releases Plan to Vaccinate Wild Buffalo") to build your letter to the editor.
For tips on writing letters to the editor, as well ask other key newspapers that need to hear from you, please visit   http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html.  If your letter is printed, please send us a copy! Email it to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org, or send it to the snail mail address at the end of this update.  Thanks!
* BFC Appears on American Indian Movement Today
Many thanks to Marty FireRider and Joseph Red Bear for having us on their incredible radio program, American Indian Movement Today.  On Wednesday, BFC's Dan Brister and Stephany Seay discussed the buffalo issue and debated the DOL's spokesperson, Karen Cooper.  Marty and Joseph shared a lot of their wisdom, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have spoken with them, and look forward to a lasting relationship.  You can listen to the radio program in it's entirety by going to http://www.worldtalkradio.com/archive.asp?aid=2986.  You will need the latest version of Window's media player.
Thank you Marty and Joseph for bringing us to your program and your listeners.  We look forward to meeting you in person and showing you around camp.  Stay in touch!  Thanks also to Anne Yellow Flower for kicking this into gear, and for the "Last Words" in today's update.
* Help!  We Need a Good, Working Car for Patrols
We've had a lot of breakdowns this week, and are having to rely on the generosity (and vehicles) of our volunteers to transport patrols to the field.   If you have a reliable car, and could use a tax write-off before the end of the year, please consider donating it to BFC.  The most practical vehicles for the deep snows we face are four-wheel drives, especially Subaru's.
* Last Words
"The buffalo is more than animal.
It is the sun's shadow.
Our lives are bound to it.
If it lives, we live.
If it dies, we die.
It is our life and our living shield" - Kiowa

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