Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Wild buffalo remain absent upon Montana's landscape
for now. The weather has recently turned a bit colder
and some snow has fallen, so it is possible that buffalo
- who many times move ahead of changing weather patterns
- may soon be on the move to lower elevation habitat.
But what habitat is there currently available to wild
buffalo outside of Yellowstone's boundaries once the
snows get too deep for them to find the grass they need
to survive? And if the cattle industry continues to
get their way, it will not be just wild bison that suffer
nefarious mismanagement; as we feared and warned would
happen, elk inhabiting Montana are about to be placed
in the cross-hairs as well. It seems that no cost is
too high that ranchers are willing to have others pay
to keep their power firmly entrenched over our native
The Montana Board of Livestock has made its decision
on a Brucellosis Management Plan to regain Montana's
brucellosis-free status. A heavy focus is placed upon
actively managing elk. Cattle ranchers in seven counties
in southwest Montana are only required to test their
cattle for brucellosis (Brucella abortus) anti-bodies.
The cattle industry is forcing native wildlife off the
land while they seek to have Montana taxpayers foot
the bill; a whopping $2.4 million a year.
Outlined in the plan, if the rancher requests it, a
cattle herd management plan will be done at taxpayer
expense. The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) as
well as the state's wildlife management agency, Fish,
Wildlife & Parks (FWP) will provide personnel and
assistance. FWP will be required to send out staff to
haze (chase) elk off cattle ranches, while also providing
ranchers game-proof fencing.
Apparently, cattle ranchers can't manage their own private
Furthermore, there is looming discussion of reducing
the Madison Valley elk population by 3,000 animals in
an effort to further subsidize cattle interests. These
are the same voices that complain that wolves are eating
all the elk.
This latest plan is another aspect of the brucellosis
fraud narrative; the ranchers get additional control
over native wildlife and we the taxpayers pick up the
tab, while FWP acts at the behest of the cattle industry,
wasting money better spent on acquiring habitat for
wildlife. Cattle ranchers are not interested in disease
control, but bison and elk control.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a spectacularly
majestic landscape. While it is just a spot of green
on the map, it gives us a glimpse of the native flora
and fauna that have coexisted for tens of thousands
of years. But for a few centuries now, cattle and those
who perpetuate their production are stripping the integrity
away, killing the wild animals, fencing in and hoarding
the habitat, while making taxpayers foot the bill. Currently,
one invasive species - the cow - is dictating the life
and death of bison, wolves, elk, grizzly bears, pronghorn
antelope, moose, eagles, swans, and badgers. The cattle
industry continues to poison, shoot, and slaughter anything
that threatens their economic interests; the wildlife
that survives is pushed into the rugged mountains while
the industry fills up the valleys with cow dung and
The cattle industry's status quo is not set in stone,
nor is it sustainable. With
your help, we will continue to fight to restore
wild bison to their native range and create a living
landscape for native flora and fauna that respects and
protects the wild integrity of this majestic ecosystem.
Buffalo Field Campaign
* View & Vote! Bison, bison: The Haze
Michael Van Laanen is a filmmaker from Montana State
University who has documented the bison issue extensively.
He's recently created an eight-minute piece called "Bison,
bison: the Haze." Michael has worked closely with
Buffalo Field Campaign over the past few years and in
this film, as in his others, you'll see that he has
incorporated a lot of BFC's footage from the field.
You can also meet a few BFC folks in some of the interviews
Michael included for this film. This lovely piece is
up on Current
TV and has the potential to make it to mainstream
television if it gets enough favorable reviews.
and vote for the film today!
Many thanks to Michael and his outstanding film crew
for helping to powerfully tell the buffalo's story.
Vote up for the buffalo!
* Sale of Children's Books to Benefit Buffalo
BFC is pleased to announce our collaboration with The
Ecoseekers, an independent publishing house and eco-enterprise
that connects kids (and adults) with nature and environmentalism
through original stories, products, and community.
Buffalo Field Campaign and The EcoSeekers share a similar
goal of educating the public about bison and protecting
bison in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. That's why
we decided to work together. Bison are a main focus
of the award winning mini-series, THE LAND OF CURIOSITIES.
The EcoSeekers Book Collection consists of historical
fiction adventure stories about public lands and defining
events and themes in the history of environmentalism,
as told through the experiences of courageous young
fictional characters. Each book includes a 'real history'
section with facts and photos. Recommended for ages
8-14 (and loved by adults too!).
Buffalo Field Campaign will receive 30% of proceeds
from the sale of books and other items ordered by following
* Last Words
"By removing cattle from the landscape... we're
effectively reducing the risk of brucellosis transmissions."
~ Mel Frost, spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population
in the U.S.
2008-2009 Total: 2
2008-2009 Slaughter: 0
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 1
2007-2008 Total: 1,616
Total Since 2000: 3,683*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts
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