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Weekly Update from the Field June 15, 2006
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* Update from the Field
* Thank You Built to Spill!
* Last Words

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 week.

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 land.

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 about.

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 over grass.

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 protection.

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).

Visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org 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?"

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