Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
The wild Yellowstone buffalo are at the peak of their
calving season, an extremely sensitive time of year
for the gentle buffalo who have survived a long winter
and must find good grasses and quiet places to give
birth and raise their young. In the midst of the
big, chocolaty brown buffalo are beautiful, tiny, red,
delicate babies using their brand new senses to greet
the earth for the first time, their little, wobbly legs
walk with their proud, protective mothers, and are soon
able to jump and play with the welcoming family members
in the herd. Of course, after a few minutes of exploring
and hopping around, very frequent naps in mama's protective
warmth are a must. Buffalo thrive on Horse Butte at
this time of year.
Unfortunately, so many of these baby buffalos' first
steps have been taken in fright, fleeing government-backed
cowboy cops, trying to keep up with their moms and the
herd, as they are run off of their native habitat for
many miles back into Yellowstone.
This week, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL),
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), the National
Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (FS)
have been engaged, every single day, in pushing nearly
all the buffalo they can find out of Montana, back into
Yellowstone National Park. Contrary to a DOL/FWP
press release issued Monday night that said buffalo
would be "safely and humanely" hazed "off
of private land," using horses, trucks and ATVs,
the agents forced buffalo out from everywhere; including
public land where they were supposed be allowed to live
in peace through May 15th. This, according to
the IBMP agency's own "tolerance" agreement,
which they have broken again and again. There
is nothing "safe" or "humane" about
forcing wildlife off of their chosen ground. Now, not
only is the agreement broken and there is no tolerance
for wild buffalo anywhere in Montana, the agencies have
stated that the May 15th date has been set for lethal
removal if any buffalo set foot in Montana.
Tuesday was a prime example of the livestock industry
and government's efforts to spin their propaganda of
deception, perpetuating their prejudice against wild
buffalo and instilling hysteria-based fear in the public.
As wild buffalo were hazed off of their native habitat,
spokespeople from the DOL and FWP (George Harris and
Mel Frost, respectively) who were observing the operations
and touting "The Plan" spoke to the media
about how they were "safely and humanely"
harassing little newborn calves and their mothers, pregnant
buffalo, and the entire buffalo families who stepped
across the Montana border. Given their pitiful
record, why should anyone expect the government and
industry to do anything but lie? How else could
they push their agenda? And there's not
even a cow anywhere in sight.
When asked what the Interagency Bison Management Plan
was intended to do, Mr. Harris could remember "protecting
cattle from brucellosis transmissions" but conveniently
forgot the other part of The Plan, which is supposed
to conserve wild, free-roaming buffalo. Of course, The
Plan does neither. Thankfully BFC and three TV stations
were there documenting everything (see BFC video clip
Also on Tuesday, Becky Weed, a new MT Board of Livestock
member appointed by Governor Schweitzer rode along with
DOL agent Rob Tierney to see for herself the cowboys
at work. Mike Volesky, Governor Schweitzer's policy
advisor for natural resources also observed the days'
circus. Of course, these state officials didn't
see the cruelty we see done to the buffalo on a regular
basis, because as soon as the agents knew they were
being observed, they toned their aggression down.
But video tape does not lie.
On Wednesday - much to the chagrin of the buffalo, their
advocates, campers, hikers, anglers, and tourists in
the Yellowstone area - the DOL's "safe and humane"
hazing included their extremely disruptive helicopter.
BFC immediately called Governor Schweitzer's office,
urging them to call off the chopper. The Governor's
office claimed they had just heard about it themselves,
and shifted all blame for it's use to Montana's (Acting)
State Vet, Jeanne M. Rankin (contact info below).
Ms. Rankin, according to the Governor's office, has
"unbridled authority when it comes to disease management
issues," and the governor's office says "there's
nothing we can do about it." The governor's
office wants us to believe that they are working on
things beneficial to wild buffalo, yet under Governor
Schweitzer's administration more buffalo have been killed
than in BFC's ten-year history.
There is something we can do about it, though.
Hit them where it hurts: BOYCOTT BEEF.
As BFC documented these horrific actions, the agents
were extremely extra-aggro, issuing orders, calling
us names, trying to keep us well out of sight of the
operations, attempting to prevent us from getting the
footage that the agencies don't want you to see.
But they couldn't stop us.
In the midst of the week's madness a school group from
Grand Junction, Colorado was in the area to visit BFC
and learn about the buffalo. In the field the
agents attempted to keep them from witnessing the operations,
which only added fuel to the fire. If these hazing
operations are so benign, why hide them from public
view? The students also visited the Gallatin National
Forest office and asked them point blank how many cases
of brucellosis wild bison have transmitted to cattle.
The answer: none.
The truth is on the buffalo's side.
* BFC Video: Montana Department of LIEStock
Lies, misinformation and exaggerated truths are standard
procedure for the livestock industry and their rouge
agency the Montana Department of Livestock. Here
is just one more example of their public deception.
When you or I lie we are held liable but when government
agencies do it it is just standard procedure.
Take action today and hold the decision-makers accountable.
Watch BFC's Video: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
Read BFC's Press Release from Tuesday, May 1st:
Contact Montana's Acting State Vet, Governor's Office,
Jeanne Rankin is currently the Acting State Vet for
Montana. She calls the shots for the Department
of Livestock's actions. It is her "discretion"
that can instigate a haze, call in the helicopter, spin
the cattle propaganda, and decide whether wild buffalo
in Montana live or die. The DOL is an out of control
agency and Ms. Rankin should be reminded that her actions
are not going unnoticed. Remind her that wild
buffalo are native to Montana, and cattle are not. Remind
her that the cattle industry is dependent upon consumers,
and that you and your family boycott beef. Let
her know that you are well aware that brucellosis is
a fraud and the truth is coming out.
CONTACT: Jeanne Rankin, email@example.com,
406-444-1895, (cell) 406-202-2983
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has had over two years
to fulfill his campaign promises of "more tolerance"
for wild buffalo in Montana, and to act on his statements
that the DOL is "ill equipped" to manage wild
buffalo. Yet, under his administration's two years,
more wild buffalo have died than in BFC's ten-year history.
If you're a Montana resident, tell him the buffalo go
into the voting booth with you.
CONTACT: Governor Brian Schweitzer,
Lastly, we have someone to thank. Apparently,
Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis refused to
authorize the DOL flying their helicopter into Yellowstone
anymore. This is great news, as in the past that
helicopter chases buffalo into Yellowstone, flying very
low to the ground, disrupting waking grizzly bears and
every other animal seeking refuge within Yellowstone's
boundaries. Please thank Suzanne Lewis for this action
and encourage her to have the courage to take more positive
steps to protect the wildlife in her care.
CONTACT: Superintendent Suzanne
* BFC Launches Bison Habitat & Wildlife
Sightings Web Sites
On April 30, BFC launched a web site to bring public
attention to the plight of the last wild bison and their
native habitat in the United States. Through the Web
site people worldwide can now explore and learn about
the Yellowstone bison, their current range and habitat,
and threats to their survival as a native wildlife species.
During daily field patrols BFC volunteers record wildlife
sightings of bison, elk, mule deer, moose, pronghorn
antelope, whitetail deer, black bear, grizzly bear,
wolf, coyote, beaver, bald eagle, golden eagle, great
horned owl, great gray owl, osprey, trumpeter swan,
sandhill crane, great blue heron, and many other wildlife
species. Read BFC's press release and explore the new
Contact Jesse at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Darrell at email@example.com
with your comments, suggestions, or any stories and
information you have that will help build this incredible
* Mother's Day Cards - Today is the Last Day
Honor your mother with a gift dedicated to wild bison!
* Summer Tablers Needed this Summer in Yellowstone
BFC is looking for 3-4 dedicated people who are well-versed
on the buffalo issue and enjoy talking to others about
these beautiful, magnificent creatures. Interested?
Contact Stephanie Munce at buffaloatwildrockies.org
or call 406-646-0070.
* Photo of the Week
It's hard to imagine a little guy like this growing
up to be a massive, mighty buffalo. They are as cute
in person as you can possibly imagine they would be
from this BFC photo.
* Last Words
"The lies far outweigh what little truth comes
out. That's fascism. Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s
defined fascism as a "lie told by a bully."
Well, that's what we've got with brucellosis.
Lies told by bullies, and it's killing our wildlife.
Why can't we get that brute fact out in front of the
~ Robert Hoskins, outspoken Wyoming naturalist who's
working on natural history and local ecological knowledge