Another winter/spring season has come to a close here
at Buffalo Field Campaign headquarters, with the last
three bull buffalo in Montana hazed back into the park
This season was a particularly rough one for the bison
that wandered out of Yellowstone National Park into
Montana. The National Park Service (NPS) sent almost
900 to slaughter, and held another 300 for a month in
it's horrific capture facility.
The state of Montana, who usually carries out the bulk
of the annual slaughter, was not blameless this year.
Another 47 buffalo were shot or sent to slaughter for
the crime of following their traditional migration routes
to their native feeding and calving grounds. And if
that weren't enough, 40 more buffalo were killed in
the first year of Montana's reinstated bison hunt.
This past winter and spring, Buffalo Field Campaign
volunteers were out every day from sunrise to sunset,
documenting every action taken against the buffalo and
working for the permanent protection of America's only
continuously wild herd. This has been the case since
1997, and will continue to be the case until the last
wild buffalo are allowed to roam freely on their own
This year's slaughter of 947 buffalo was the highest
number in the campaign's history.
All this slaughter is being blamed on the disease brucellosis,
which can cause cattle to abort their first calf, and
which 2-20% of the Yellowstone Bison carry.
It doesn't matter to the Montana Department of Livestock
(DOL) and the other agencies involved that there has
never been a case of brucellosis being transmitted from
wild bison to cattle. The DOL, The NPS, Montana Fish,
Wildlife and Parks, The Forest Service and the Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service claim that allowing
bison to roam freely in Montana would be an unacceptable
level of threat to cattle. However, elk and other wildlife
that roam freely outside the park also carry brucellosis,
and Wyoming and Idaho have both lost their brucellosis
free status due to cattle mingling with elk, with none
of the serious consequences that Montana seems so worried
So it's obvious to anyone with the time to read the
facts that brucellosis is not the bogeyman that Montana
makes it out to be. This is a public lands use fight
Which is more important to Montana and the country;
a handful of cattle who are dozens of miles away from
the buffalo when they come out of the park, or the country's
last wild herd of buffalo?
The answer is obvious to the vast majority of people,
but a small group of greedy individuals hold the reins
in this situation. But togetter we are changing that.
Summertime does not mean that we at Buffalo Field Campaign
stop fighting. When the buffalo migrate back into the
park, we follow them, setting up every day at one of
the park tourist attractions to call attention to the
slaughter and mistreatment of these magnificent creatures
and to build a grassroots movement for their lasting
We urge you to join us in spreading the word. Stop by
our table to say hi if you're in the park this summer
and if you have a few weeks to spare, come out to one
of the most beautiful places in the country. We'll cover
room and board (camping in the park, and a bunk at our
cabin in West Yellowstone).
for more info or contact buffaloatwildrockies.org
* Thank You Built to Spill!
We want to thank Boise rock bands Built to Spill, Travis
Ward & Junkyard Bandstand, and Tim Andreae; the
Boise Food Coop; and BFC board member Ken Cole for throwing
the most successful benefit concert in BFC's history.
For the BFC volunteers lucky enough to attend the June
3 show, it was a magic night of beautiful music and
dancing, great vibes, and strong buffalo community to
bring closure to our most difficult season. The money
raised will allow us to continue to be in the field
with the buffalo, working for the day when Montana welcomes
the migration of this beautiful and essential species.
The Boise benefit kicked off Built to Spill's extensive
tour. Check out this amazing band in a city near you
and support a group who strongly supports the work of
the Buffalo Field Campaign.
For Built to Spill tour dates:
From the Idaho Statesman, June 9, 2006
Built to Spill: June 3/Big Easy
Boise rock band Built To Spill's benefit concert raised
$10,400 for the Buffalo Field Campaign, an organization
that works to protect Yellowstone bison. Tickets sold
out in advance (and, according to an e-mailer, were
flipped outside for as much as $100 a pair). The Big
Easy donated the room; the Boise Co-op added food service.
Frontman Doug Martsch, pictured performing at the gig,
treated the giddy crowd to a mix of favorites (first
song "Car" was a tribute to ex-Built to Spill
drummer Andy Capps), tunes from new CD "You in
Reverse," and a selection of music to be included
on a future disc. Memorable moments: Dazzling new fretboard
workout "Good Ol' Boredom"; a slamming "Goin'
Against Your Mind"; and original reggae tune "They
Got Away," as well as a reinvention of the old
Gladiators song "Rearrange."
* Last Words
"The Yellowstone buffalo are a poignant reminder
of the continent's wild past and the living embodiment
of hope for the future. Will we make room for them on
their native landscape or keep them violently confined
to Yellowstone National Park?"