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
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
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
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
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
* 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
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
Chief Plenty Coup (1848-1932)