* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Big news has hit Montana: the state has lost its coveted
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
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
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
6/12 - Second
brucellosis case will cost cattle industry millions
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
6/6 - Letter:
Bison should not be managed as livestock West Yellowstone
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!
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
For $20 you can get a sample plate with AAA-000 on the
For $30 you can personalize the plate with up to 6 characters
of your choice.
Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
with questions or send a check to License Plates c/o
Buffalo Field Campaign, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone,
* 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