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Weekly Update from the Field June 12, 2008
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* Update from the Field
* For the Buffalo! Bonnie Raitt Benefit Tickets Available!
* Buffalo in the News
* "Let Buffalo Roam" License Plates for Every State!
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Big news has hit Montana: the state has lost its coveted brucellosis-free status.

Another Montana cattle herd was found to be infected with the livestock disease. That's two cattle herds in less than two years, and so Montana's status as being certified "brucellosis-free" is out the window.

The source of transmission is not yet known, but it is certain that it's not wild buffalo. The owner of the infected herd, Arthur Burns of Emigrant, MT, had his cattle approximately 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

The industry is already pointing fingers at elk, just as they did last spring. In May 2007, a cattle herd that had been pastured near Emigrant was found infected, but neither the Department of Livestock (DOL) nor the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) produced any evidence linking Yellowstone wildlife--or clearing domestic or imported cattle--as the source of last year's infection.

An interesting point is that both infected herds were comprised of Corriente cattle, a Mexican breed popular in rodeo roping events often imported from Texas. Texas only recently regained its brucellosis-free status and Mexico is not brucellosis-free.
Our close friend and ally, Robert Hoskins, had this to say: "There is no scientific proof that elk were the cause of last year's brucellosis outbreak and good circumstantial evidence that the cause was imported Corriente cattle. A year after that incident, we still have no published epidemiological report from APHIS. Is that not suspicious?"

It certainly is suspicious. Especially given the propaganda machine that spits out fear of the threat of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to cattle, and the U.S. tax dollars that fund it. Thousands of wild buffalo have been killed at the whims of the livestock industry. Don't you think these agencies, if brucellosis was the threat they claim, would have immediately tested the infected cattle to determine the source of infection? In fact, in 2007, APHIS failed to secure biological samples from 6 of the 7 cows of the herd identified as seropositive for brucellosis, out of 'concern' for the private property rights of the slaughterhouse owner.

In the end the agencies failed to collect adequate scientific data upon which to base any claim of causation, either for cattle, elk, or bison. In the press we rarely hear about livestock as a possible source of infection, as the vested powers are always so quick to blame wildlife as the source.

Will Montana's cattle industry now press for an elk test-and-slaughter program?
There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle, and the only known cases involving elk have occurred on government feedlots. The cattle industry brought brucellosis to this country, infected our wildlife with it, and now slaughters them for carrying it.

This incident clearly illustrates the failings of the Interagency Bison Management Plan. As we have seen time and again, the plan isn't living up to either of its two main goals. It neither ensures a "viable, free-roaming population of wild bison," as it is supposed to, nor does it protect Montana's brucellosis-free status.

As we saw in Wyoming, who lost its brucellosis-free status in 2004, loss of brucellosis-free status will hardly put a dent in the profits of Montana's livestock industry. Whatever the cost winds up being, it will pale in comparison to the ecological, cultural, historical, and financial impact of the slaughter of more than 1,600 wild American bison during the 2007-2008 season.
The fewer than 2,000 wild buffalo that remain, hundreds of which have been forcefully driven from Montana under the guise of protecting Montana's brucellosis-free status, are now within Yellowstone National Park's boundaries. The cattle industry portrayed the militaristic hazing operations that drove the buffalo off of cattle-free Horse Butte and surrounding public lands as "sending them home." Apparently, they have forgotten - or, more likely, choose to ignore that much of the entire North American continent is the buffalo's home, not just the tiny, ecologically meaningless confines of Yellowstone National Park's boundary. For now, after the most intense season of slaughter experienced since the 19th century, things are peaceful in the field. The agents, thankfully, are gone. Sadly, so are the buffalo. With such an enormous death toll, the genetic integrity of this last wild population of American bison left in the U.S. is truly, seriously, and dangerously in jeopardy. Will the herds rebound in a healthy way that will allow them to evolve with changing environments? We do not know. But some buffalo remain, and they have shown themselves to be strong survivors. We will fight for their right to roam until they are once again home on the vast prairies of this landscape.

~Buffalo Field Campaign
* For the Buffalo! Bonnie Raitt Benefit Tickets Available!
The Guacamole Fund has generously offered Buffalo Field Campaign 20 tickets to legendary singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt's concert coming to Big Sky, MT on August 27, 2008. Tickets are $200 each and include an aftershow backstage visit with Bonnie!

Enjoy incredible music by the beautiful and talented Bonnie Raitt while helping keep Buffalo Field Campaign on the front lines with the last wild buffalo! Get your tickets now http://www.novoiceunheard.org/TicketOrderBR2.html
* Buffalo in the News
6/12 - Udder failure: The politics behind Montana's brucellosis discovery Missoula Independent

6/12 - Second brucellosis case will cost cattle industry millions Casper Star-Tribune

6/12 - Ranchers and conservationists at odds as bison herd numbers plunge Christian Science Monitor / Flathead Beacon

6/12 - Brucellosis Free Status ABC Montana

6/11 - Too late - this time - for split-state brucellosis plan Great Falls Tribune

6/8 - Letter: DOL bison policy ignores disease facts Billings Gazette

6/6 - Letter: Bison should not be managed as livestock West Yellowstone News

6/4 - Greens sue to close elk refuge Wyoming business report

* "Let Buffalo Roam" License Plates for Every State
Get the new "Let Buffalo Roam" license plate that lets you show your support for wild buffalo!

In Montana:
These beautiful plates are available at any Montana DMV! Proceeds will go to the front lines work of Buffalo Field Campaign's efforts to defend wild bison and their habitat. You can help spread the word about these remarkable plates by downloading this flyer http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/plates/LicensePlateBW.pdf with the artwork of the new plate and information for getting them. Help us spread the word! If you live in Montana, please print up the flyer and put them all over your town.

Out of State:
Buffalo advocates outside of Montana can acquire sample plates to display on your vehicle or in other visible locations. These plates will only be for show, and cannot legally registered.
For $20 you can get a sample plate with AAA-000 on the plate.
For $30 you can personalize the plate with up to 6 characters of your choice.

Contact Mike at mease@wildockies.org with questions or send a check to License Plates c/o Buffalo Field Campaign, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
* Last Words
"Seldom in history have so many been so thoroughly brainwashed by so few. The truth of the matter is: No industry or human activity on earth has destroyed or altered more of nature than the livestock industry. The slow-talking cowboy and his docile cows ... are the center of a monstrous myth, a part of Americana that rests on concocted imagery and fabrication -- an enormous falsehood based on profound ignorance."
~ From Sacred Cows at the Public Trough, by Denzel and Nancy Ferguson, 1983

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