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Weekly Update from the Field February 16, 2006
* Update from the Field
* Contact these Decision-Makers
* New Deadline for Quarantine Comments, Feb. 27
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
By the time the Stephens Creek capture facility, located one mile inside Yellowstone National Park, is empty nearly 1,000 sacred buffalo will be dead. We all bear a share of responsibility for this because our federal tax dollars are footing the bill. With buffalo displayed proudly on their badges, Park Rangers are doing the buffalo in, as of this writing their share of the slaughter is 823 and counting.

Outside the Park, more tolerance and more habitat could exist on lands owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). Instead the church insists on grazing less than 200 cows on its land and as a result, by winter's end, more than 1,000 buffalo will die. Another ironic twist is that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to escort these animals to slaughterhouses. Aren't they supposed to be safeguarding us against terrorist attacks?
All of this could be avoided if the CUT would remove their cattle or come up with a figure for what it would cost to allow buffalo on their land. Working in partnership, the government and non-profit community could easily raise these funds. Instead, CUT disrespects the religious beliefs of all the tribes who regard these buffalo as sacred relatives. In 1997 the CUT ordered Lakota elder and BFC co-founder Rosalie Little Thunder arrested for saying a prayer for 14 Buffalo shot on their land. How can CUT's religion supersede that of all the First Nations of this continent?

Another glaring injustice is the fact that the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL), whose agents have no training in wildlife management, retains ultimate authority concerning the fate of Yellowstone buffalo. Focused on protecting the economic interests of Montana's livestock industry, the DOL has the ultimate conflict of interest when it comes to managing buffalo. Having only been involved in a few operations this year, the DOL has nonetheless proven how ill-fitted they are for the job. In West Yellowstone they canceled the hunt to haze buffalo onto the ice of Hebgen Lake and 12 broke through, two drowned, and ten endured over three hours in the frozen waters. BFC volunteers who offered to help were threatened with arrest. After doing nothing but watch for an hour and a half, the DOL agents finally attempted to pull the buffalo from the lake, though they still refused to allow BFC volunteers to help.

Valentines day brought the next DOL involvement. Due to Montana's new hunt, the agency has had to take a back seat while Park Service agents slaughtered hundreds of buffalo. But on Tuesday our local DOL agent finally found a way to kill. The agent shot a bull buffalo after deeming him "unhazeable," and once again BFC's offer of help was rejected. A week before two BFC volunteers on foot had shepherded nine bull buffalo safely out of the same field. Angry, aggressive, harsh treatment of wild buffalo will always result in problems, and this being standard procedure for the DOL, we should continue to expect trouble. Ironically if any of these agencies were to treat their horses, cows, dogs, or cats in any of the abusive ways they reserve for the the buffalo, they would be fined, have their animal confiscated and possibly spend time in jail. But for some reason buffalo don't enjoy the same protection as other animals, wild or domestic.

This year the Nez Perce have asserted their treaty rights and asked BFC to document their hunt. We have also participated in ceremony with five distinct, sovereign nations for the buffalo. The Native American voice is growing louder and change is on the way, those who don't want the change had better get out of the way.

With the Buffalo,
Mike Mease
* Contact these Decision-Makers
What do we do when faced with such enormous and senseless wild buffalo slaughter? Speak up! Let our voices be heard by the people who are responsible. Please take the time to write, call, fax and in any way contact the entities listed below. Your members of Congress must also hear from you on this issue, and you should be sure to let them know that Yellowstone is being unresponsive to the will of the American people. THANK YOU for taking action for the buffalo - it is so important because if we don't, who will?

Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis

PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(307) 344-2002

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
State Capitol, Helena, MT 59620-0801

Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT)
P.O. Box 5000, Gardiner, Montana 59030-5000
Phone (in US): 800-245-5445 * Phone (out of US): 406-848-9500
Fax (in US) 800-221-8307 * Fax (out of US) 406-848-9555
Web: http://www.tsl.org/ContactUs.asp

US Representatives
The Honorable _____________
United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20510

US Senators
The Honorable _____________
United States Senate, Washington, DC 20515
* New Deadline for Quarantine Comments, Feb. 27
If you've already sent in your comments, you are ahead of the game! Thank you! If you didn't get the chance, that's ok - there's still time.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have once again extended the deadline for public comments on their bison quarantine feasibility study. Comments are now due Monday, February 27, 2006.

One hundred wild bison calves are currently being held within the quarantine facility. Their mothers and many of their family members have been sent to slaughter. These wild calves will be held in captivity for four years where they will be used in scientific experiment, forced breeding programs, and eventually more than half will be slaughtered. Please be a voice against this becoming the future for more wild baby buffalo! Here's what bison quarantine looks like: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/videoaudio/quarantine042305.mov

Please send your comments today! For contact and general information please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/actionalerts.html#bisonquarantine.

Contact Josh at bfc-advocate"at"wildrockies.org with questions and please send him a copy of your comments. Thanks!

* Last Words
"We have a relationship with the buffalo. It sustains us. We owe not only the Buffalo but the Earth quite a bit. We have ceremonies that are very mindful of taking care of the spirit of the buffalo. We don't believe that life begins at birth and ends at death, but our spirit begins again and again. The spirit of the buffalo must be tended to.

With hundreds and hundreds of our relatives going to slaughter, it's very disturbing because their spirits are not tended to, and they are trapped and cannot live again. When we send our relatives to slaughter for no good reason we have to at least help to remind those human beings that make decisions this is careless, it is a very careless thing to do…. "
~ Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota Elder & co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign

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