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Weekly Update from the Field January 19, 2006
* Update from the Field - Buffalo Slaughter in Yellowstone
* Quarantine Comments Needed
* Montana: GYIBC Meeting Approaching
* Send a BFC Valentine to a Loved One and Support BFC's Frontlines Work!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field - Buffalo Slaughter in Yellowstone
Dear Friends of the Buffalo,
It is hard to imagine that "Yellowstone" and "buffalo slaughter" would appear together in the same sentence, yet here they are. We have now entered the worst buffalo slaughter since the wicked winter of 1996-97. Buffalo history in America is like a broken record seemingly doomed to repeat itself again and again.

Since last Wednesday, Yellowstone National Park rangers have captured 524 of the country's last wild buffalo. These icons of the American West have been rounded up like cattle and crammed into the Stephens Creek Capture Facility, near Gardiner and Yellowstone's northern boundary. This trap is located inside our planet's first national park. These mighty buffalo, gentle creatures of freedom, strong spirit and tenacious strength, will all be sent to slaughter without being tested for brucellosis antibodies.

This is ironic because brucellosis is the supposed reason for the government's lethal actions against wild buffalo. Another irony: The NPS is taking these actions without cooperation from Montana. Yet it is Montana that holds the irrational zero-tolerance policy against wild buffalo, and it is Montana's cattle industry that the Park Service says it's protecting, yet in order to save face while their illegitimate hunt is underway, Montana pretends to disagree with these actions; of course, not enough to denounce them. It is no secret that the Park Service's actions are a boon to the state's cattle industry. If Montana isn't urging this insane action, why is the Park Service conducting it? Another irony is that the native wild buffalo are being escorted to slaughterhouses in Montana and Idaho - as far away as 500 miles - by none other than the Bush Administration's Department of Homeland Security.

As of this writing, the National Park Service has sent 300 of the last wild buffalo to slaughter; 185 buffalo still remain locked in the Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility. Thirty-eight wild buffalo calves have been sent to prison at the Corwin Springs Quarantine Facility--joining the 14 who have been confined there since last year--where they will be raised in captivity, experimented on, and the majority slaughtered. On Friday, one baby buffalo died in the trap because while it was being "processed" the Park Service broke off its little button horns.

The buffalo suffer government madness for simply following the only law that matters, the Law of Nature. The Yellowstone buffalo are the last ones to follow the awesome instinct to migrate. Yet instead of celebrating this natural phenomenon, the government punishes it. Land of the free?

Some buffalo crossed an imaginary line that says "you are awe-inspiring and respected here on this side, but you are vermin and expendable there on that side." Some buffalo never even crossed that illogical, unreasonable, invisible man-made line. The underlying themes are cattle and habitat: wild buffalo are provided zero habitat outside of Yellowstone National Park, even on our national and state public lands because the cattle industry hordes it greedily for fattening beef for the dinner table. Yellowstone has become nothing less than a mega-zoo that engages in the wholesale slaughter of native wildlife to do the bidding of the livestock industry. Money doesn't just talk, it screams. We the People have to scream LOUDER. We cannot let this injustice continue for another ten years.

The government agencies that take these monstrous actions are so wrapped up in their nefarious Plan and bureaucratic nonsense that they refuse to see what it is they are doing. They cannot see what we see when we're out in the field with the buffalo, the peace the buffalo bring, the completion they give to the landscape, their natural right to exist as wild, free buffalo. But the people see. And the people must act.

As of this writing, Yellowstone Chief of Public Affairs Al Nash, cooly and in good humor, tells us that they may capture another 50 wild buffalo today. Their justification: "It's in the Plan." It's only the last wild herd, after all. It's only Yellowstone National Park. And, it's is only January. Along the northern boundary, the NPS is capturing and slaughtering buffalo as quickly as they can in order to make room for more tax payer-funded murder, while trap sites along the Park's western boundary are being plowed to make way for even more.

Meanwhile, just miles from Park Service-run buffalo-slaughter, Montana's canned bison hunt goes on. Over the weekend tribal members from the Blackfeet and Chippewa-Cree Indian Nations used their permits here in West Yellowstone. Only three of eight Montana tribes decided to engage in the first phase of the hunt. On Monday, phase II of the hunt began and seven buffalo were gunned down in Gardiner. That same day, just across the Yellowstone River, the Park Service captured 211 wild buffalo. According to an article in today's print-version of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 50 buffalo that were shipped to a Nampa, Idaho slaughterhouse from Yellowstone on Tuesday never arrived at that slaughter facility. Their whereabouts remain a mystery. The government doesn't have an answer.

If there is good news to report, it is that last week's ice-hazing catastrophe - when the Department of Livestock hazed 40 buffalo and caused 12 to fall through the ice, drowning two - is getting national media attention. This horrible incident has not gone unnoticed and continues to be a focus of the media and is drawing more and more outrage from Montanans and others across the country. Voices are being raised in defense of the buffalo. The DOL may have sealed their fate in their involvement in wild buffalo harassment with their latest foolish and unnecessary hazing operation.

If I were a better writer, by the time you read this email everyone you know would also know about what is happening to the last wild buffalo and each would take appropriate action. I can only hope that these words convey to you a sense of the urgent need to all join in solidarity NOW for the buffalo and take action NOW and UNTIL they are set free. What is happening here in the land of the last wild buffalo, in the land of the earth's first national park is a symptom of the larger illness plaguing our planet. We are the healers. Ours is the voice that must be heard. These are the last wild buffalo ... and once they are gone, they are gone forever.

Please take action now, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. If you can join us on the front lines, we need your help. But PLEASE contact Governor Brian Schweitzer (406-444-3111) and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (307-344-2002) and express your outrage at their zero-tolerance for wild buffalo, their lack of integrity, and their shameful participation in the wholesale slaughter of this gentle and majestic American icon. You might even suggest that the NPS replace their buffalo insignia with a cow, since that is the only thing they seem willing to take a stand for. Shame on Yellowstone, and shame on Montana. These buffalo belong to the country, not to the state or the government, and certainly not to slaughterhouses. We must demand that the buffalo be protected and respected and forever set free. It is high time to stop this senseless harassment and slaughter of the country's last wild buffalo. Enough Is Enough!
Save the herd... spread the word.

In Solidarity & With Strong Prayer for the Buffalo Nation,
* Quarantine Comments Needed
This week the National Park Service sent 38 baby buffalo to the Corwin Springs Quarantine Facility just miles from Yellowstone National Park. These babies have been ripped from their families, their mothers have been killed, and they will be kept in captivity, fed hay like cattle, handled and experimented on by scientists, and the majority will go to slaughter. Those who survive this will no longer be wild buffalo. Yet the government wants to "create a disease-free herd" and wants to call them "wild" and wants to introduce them to unknown public and tribal lands. This is a mad-scientist experiment that is unnecessary, unethical and unjust.

To see what bison quarantine looks like, follow this link: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/bisonvideogallery.html

Please send your comments on the joint state-federal quarantine plan to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Comments made directly from your heart, in your own words will be counted more strongly, so please write it as you see it, as you feel it.  

Send them to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, C/o Bison Quarantine, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or via email to BisonQuarantineEA@mt.gov, or faxed to:406-444-4952.

For more information visit: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/actionalerts.html
* Montana: GYIBC Meeting Approaching
The Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) will hold its tri-annual meeting on January 31 and February 1 at the Gran Tree Inn Best Western in Bozeman, Montana. The GYIBC constitutes representatives from all of the federal and state land-use, livestock and wildlife management agencies in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). The agencies will be discussing past, current, and future management actions and strategies for the eradication and control of brucellosis in the region. Hot topics will include the current slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo, the upcoming capture, test, and slaughter of elk on Wyoming feedgrounds and the loss of Idaho's brucellosis free status. The meetings allow for questioning the agencies about their activities and include a public comment section at the end of the second day. This is the only opportunity to address all of the responsible (irresponsible?) parties for the continued assault on the wildlife of the GYA. If you live in the region and especially in the Bozeman area, please attend these meetings and raise your voice in defense of the buffalo and other native wildlife.
* Send a BFC Valentine to a Loved One and Support BFC's Frontlines Work!
It seems strangely out of place to think about something as "frivolous" as a valentine when so much pain, suffering, and tragedy are being visited upon Yellowstone's beautiful, wild bison.

But on the other hand, what a connection there IS to this day symbolized by hearts! The strongest hearts we know are those of our fellow travelers, the bison. They are social, family-oriented animals who form strong ties with one another. They grieve around their fallen brothers and sisters. They have the heart necessary to silently persevere through Yellowstone's long, harsh winters. They must call upon their strong hearts to endure relentless hazing from Montana's Department of Livestock. And while it's true that bullets and slaughterhouses can stop their brave hearts from beating, we know those hearts are connected to buffalo spirits of equal strength.

Strong hearts beat within our BFC volunteers, as well. They, too, endure long, cold days as they stand with the bison, witnessing and recording the persecution, the death, and bringing that painful story to the nation's and the world's attention. To say that their hearts are breaking now, even while they remain resolute, is no exaggeration, for they dedicate so much of themselves to defending the Yellowstone herd.

And then there are the good hearts of YOU, our treasured BFC supporters. Without your moral support and generosity, our task would be just that much harder and a whole lot lonelier. We know that you stand with us in spirit, defending America's last wild and free-roaming bison. How can we ever say thanks for that?

With Valentine's Day approaching, we invite you to celebrate these strong hearts by honoring your loved one with a valentine sent from BFC. Not only will we send a thoughtful card on your behalf, you'll also be donating to a cause you believe in. Now THAT'S heart-warming!

* Last Words
"But when the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground, and they could not pick them up again."
Chief Plenty Coup (1848-1932)

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