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
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
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
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
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
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
* 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
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