* Update from the Field ~ Women Protest Bison
Slaughter Inside Yellowstone
Dear Buffalo Friends,
This week has been both disheartening and inspiring.
The National Park Service continues to haze, capture
and send to slaughter the last free roaming, genetically
intact buffalo. They are failing in their mission to
preserve unimpaired the resources of the Park. According
to the Park Service, only mature bull buffalo and those
which test sero-positive for brucellosis antibodies
will be sent to slaughter. Calves testing sero-negative
will be shipped to a quarantine feasibility study, being
conducted just north of the Park. All other sero-negative
buffalo will be held in a pen until spring "green-up",
expected in 2 or 3 weeks.
I've spent the last week in Gardiner, Montana, and have
seen buffalo everywhere. I'm constantly amazed at how
many buffalo are still leaving the park, even with more
than one quarter of their herd killed or quarantined.
No one bats an eyelash when mule deer or elk leave the
park; they realize that these animals cannot and should
not have to recognize a politically derived boundary.
The Park Service has been hazing and capturing buffalo
every day this week, even on Easter Sunday. Not only
are their activities morally reprehensible, they are
also ridiculous, as anyone watching is sure to realize.
I wonder what the horse mounted hazers think about their
jobs? Surely they realize this is no solution to buffalo
management. These buffalo are leaving the park for a
reason: buffalo need real habitat, not a small pen filled
But have hope friends, because on Wednesday morning
the hearts of buffalo advocates everywhere were bolstered
by the actions of two brave and intelligent women. Even
as the Park Service was capturing dozens more buffalo,
many of which are destined for slaughter, Catherine
Simonidis and Miriam Wasser locked themselves around
a banister in Yellowstone National Park's Visitor Center
in non violent protest of the worst buffalo slaughter
since the 19th century. Upon discovery, Park officials
closed the Visitor Center, turning away guests and news
media, including a crew from CNN. Supporters held vigil
outside of the building, and were there to greet Miriam
and Cat as they were escorted, their hands cuffed behind
their backs, and loaded into a waiting park ranger's
vehicle. They were then taken to the Mammoth Jail, awaiting
arraignment. A quick internet search revealed that the
story was picked up by almost every major newspaper
in our area, and many local TV news stations. More and
more people are becoming aware of the buffalo's plight
everyday; hopefully someday we can all put a stop to
this horrible slaughter.
Miriam and Cat presented a letter addressed to Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis and individual statements
which outlined their motivation for the act of civil
These documents and pictures of the action can be viewed
Both women's statements describe their wish to bring
attention to the Park Service's role in slaughtering
buffalo and also call on the Park Service to fulfill
their mission to preserve unimpaired the resources of
Yellowstone National Park. It is interesting to note
that a citizen cannot legally take even a pebble out
of the park as a souvenir, yet the Park Service has
shipped nearly 1,000 buffalo outside its border to slaughterhouses
and quarantine facilities.
Yellowstone National Park, directed by Superintendent
Suzanne Lewis, is responsible for the overwhelming majority
of the over 1,200 buffalo slaughtered this year. I urge
you write, call, or email Ms. Lewis and ask her to withdraw
her Agency's involvement in the Interagency Bison Management
Her contact information can be found at: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
or call her now at 307-344-2002.
The western border of the Yellowstone Park has been
thankfully peaceful this past week. Buffalo have been
left alone and allowed to be their own beautiful selves.
But let us not forget the Montana Department of Livestock's
role in slaughtering buffalo. Buffalo should not have
to die because of cattle interests.
Today I will head up to Mammoth Hot Springs to attend
Miriam's and Cat's arraignments. My heart bursts with
love and pride for these women who have risked their
freedom and safety to bring attention to the plight
of the buffalo. Thank you both!
* Comment by April 2 on Horse Butte Bison Trap
In 1998, the U.S. Forest Service issued a special use
permit to the Montana Department of Livestock to operate
a buffalo trap on America's public lands on Horse Butte
for the next ten years. The current permit expires December
The U.S. Forest Service is currently accepting public
comments during a scoping period on a plan to renew
the livestock agency's trap for another 10 years. The
Forest Service is likely to renew the livestock agency's
permit through a categorical exclusion - pre-empting
any analysis of the trap's environmental impacts. The
notice is available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/?page=projects/horse_butte
Please comment on this plan and help us stop the U.S.
Forest Service from allowing this madness to continue
for another 10 years.
Comments are due on April 2, 2008 and can be emailed
or mailed to:
Gallatin National Forest
Attn: Horse Butte Capture Facility Special Use Permit
PO Box 120
Bozeman, MT 59771
Here are some suggested points to include in your comments:
* Why give a livestock agency a 10-year permit to trap
wild buffalo on public lands?
* Conditions on Horse butte have changed significantly
in the past 10 years, thus it is necessary for the public
lands agency to conduct a full environmental impact
* Cattle no longer graze on public or private land on
Horse Butte Peninsula, 24,000 acres of critical wildlife
habitat, and thus there is no justification for harassing,
trapping and removing wild Buffalo from Horse Butte.
* The Department of Livestock has not used the Horse
Butte for three of the last four years but has still
successfully implemented the IBMP without it. The Department
of Livestock also maintains a permanent capture facility
on private land, and has used a temporary facility on
already heavily impacted state owned land. If the IBMP
can be successfully implemented using other capture
facility sites with less impact, why use the Horse Butte
* Horse Butte is home to three breeding bald eagle nests.
The livestock agency's trap is located within .5 miles
of one of the eagle nests, and in prime foraging habitat
for other bald and golden eagles that frequent the Madison
River and Hebgen Lake. The Montana Bald Eagle Management
Plan and the Greater Yellowstone Bald Eagle Management
Plan direct that developments which may increase human
activity not be permitted within .5 miles nest sites.
A standard is a standard and not a loophole to permit
the livestock agency to disrupt bald eagle habitat.
* Horse Butte is grizzly bear and wolf habitat. Moose,
elk, black bear, coyote, and a lot of other wildlife
depend on managing public lands on Horse Butte as wildlife
* Hebgen Lake, which surrounds Horse Butte, is critical
habitat for migratory birds, including trumpeter swans.
* Increased development on private lands on the north
side of Horse Butte has degraded available wildlife
habitat, making the south side where the trap is located
even more critical for wildlife.
* The amount of livestock inspector and law enforcement
vehicle traffic associated with the trap is far higher
than predicted in the U.S. Forest Service's initial
* The original analysis called for the Department of
Livestock to perform soil reclamation including planting
native grasses on several acres impacted by the trap.
This promise has not been kept, resulting in degraded
OTHER ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT HORSE BUTTE
FOR BUFFALO: If you haven't already, please
join the over 20,000 wild bison advocates who have signed
on to the letter addressed to the people in charge of
bison management requesting that wild bison be allowed
to range on Horse Butte without being harassed, trapped
and slaughtered by government agents.
* Call In! Schweitzer and Tester on Hartman
Radio Show Friday
Tomorrow, Friday, March 28, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
and U.S. Senator from Montana, Jon Tester will be the
guests on the Thomas Hartman Radio Show, live from affiliate
KMPT 930 Missoula, Montana. This is an excellent chance
to call in and tell millions of listeners about the
Toll-free number to call the show: 1-866-303-2270
Call from 9am to 12pm, mountain time
MAKE EVERY CALL THEY GET BE ABOUT THE BUFFALO!
Be brief and to the point, or you may get cut off. Tell
all the listeners that our buffalo are being killed,
and ask Schwitzer and Tester why they aren't stopping
For more information about this program visit http://www.airamerica.com/thomhartmannpage/.
Many thanks to KF in Portland, Oregon for bringing this
to our attention.
* VIDEO: Is Elk Slaughter Next? If the Montana
Stockgrowers Get Their Way.
Buffalo Field Campaign obtained this video footage from
the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, who, under
pressure from Wyoming livestock producers, is running
a so-called "pilot project" to capture and
slaughter elk in the Pinedale area. During the first
week of February, the agency captured more than 500
elk at the Fall Creek and Muddy Creek feed grounds.
Wyoming's elk slaughter, like the Montana bison slaughter,
is a prime example of what happens when we, the people,
allow the livestock industry control over wildlife.
Even though feed rounds, where elk congregate in unnaturally
large numbers, lead to much higher rates of brucellosis,
Wyoming's livestock producers don't care because the
feed grounds keep the elk congregated and away from
our public lands and the public grass the greedy cattle
barons want for their livestock. So instead of addressing
the problem and closing the feed grounds, Wyoming has
decided instead to capture and slaughter elk. As this
footage reveals, it looks a lot like what Yellowstone
is currently doing to the buffalo. According to Wyoming
Game and Fish, 10 elk died from injuries sustained in
the traps and 42 escaped the trap by busting through
a gate. Go elk!
We've been hearing rumblings about Montana wanting to
engage in a similar program with our elk. We make this
footage available in order to give you a firsthand perspective
of what this looks like on the ground. Stay tuned for
more information and actions you can take to oppose
elk capture, test, and slaughter in Wyoming and Montana.
Watch the exclusive video footage here:
* Photo of the Week
Courageous buffalo warrior women, Miriam and Catherine,
risk their own freedom to draw attention to Yellowstone's
role in the senseless slaughter of the country's last
* Last Words
"We say: killing is disorder, life and gentleness
and community and unselfishness is the only order we
recognize. The time is past when good men can remain
silent, when obedience can segregate men from public
risk, when the poor can die without defense.
How many must die before our voices are heard? How many
must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? How
long must the world's resources be raped in the service
of legalized murder? When, at what point, will you say
no to this war?"
~ Daniel Berrigan, S.J.