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Weekly Update from the Field March 27, 2008
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* Update from the Field ~ Women Protest Bison Slaughter Inside Yellowstone
* Comment by April 2 on Horse Butte Bison Trap
* Call In! Schweitzer & Tester on Hartman Radio Show Friday
* VIDEO: Is Elk Slaughter Next? If the Montana Stockgrowers Get Their Way.
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words

* 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 with hay.

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 disobedience.

These documents and pictures of the action can be viewed at:

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 Plan.

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!
~ Dru
* 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 31, 2008.

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

TAKE ACTION! 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 to

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 statement.

* 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 site?

* 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 habitat.

* 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 analysis.

* 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 forage.

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 buffalo.

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 this.

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 wild buffalo.
* 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.

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