* Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer Brags About Buffalo Slaughter to Livestock Interests
"No governor in Montana history has sent more bison to slaughter than this governor," Schweitzer said.
In an attempt to demonstrate how well he has represented Montana's cattle industry, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer proudly spoke the above words on Friday, December 11 during a speech at the Montana Stockgrowers Association's annual convention. Schweitzer alone claims the blood prize that belongs not just to Montana, but also to Yellowstone National Park. Together Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, carrying out the Interagency Bison Management Plan, are responsible for the deaths of thousands of America's last wild buffalo. And for what? Schweitzer failed to remind the Stockgrowers that despite the unwarranted harassment and slaughter of these last wild bison, Montana still lost its brucellosis-free status, and the buffalo had nothing to do with it. Schweitzer's statement truly represents the actions of a state that exploits the image of wild bison as a tourist attraction while simultaneously dipping into the federal treasury to fund the slaughter of buffalo. Schweitzer has nothing to crow about because he has failed miserably on this issue: he has failed the people who put him in office, he has failed the buffalo, and he has failed Montana's livestock industry.
For America's last wild buffalo and all of their suffering at the hands of Montana's livestock industry, please take a moment to contact Governor Schweitzer and let him know how you feel:
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Building
P.O. Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Fax: 1-406-444 5529*
* Update from the Field
Bull bison in winter. BFC file photo.
The snow has finally come to West Yellowstone. Volunteers are now out on skis and snowshoes in search of bison. The snow always adds an element of peace and tranquility at this time of year. However snow can also assist hunters in finding their prey. But one cannot find what is not here and there are currently no bison in Montana. This absence, or emptiness, always feels bittersweet. Not wanting to witness the unnecessary hazing, shooting, and slaughter that the bison endure whenever they step out of the Park, we are thankful that they remain on their summer ranges in Yellowstone's interior. Yet the landscape feels empty without them, and we wish our species could learn to co-exist with this majestic native species.
The sentiment behind Governor Schweitzer's recent boast that "no Governor in Montana history has sent more bison to slaughter" directly contradicts his campaign promises to show greater tolerance for bison. Such contradictions have become the norm as we watch, year after year, as the National Park Service slaughters thousands of bison the American people have entrusted the agency with protecting.
What I find really sad is that at no time can bison simply be their big beautiful selves on their native Montana habitat because we, the people, won't let them. Bison restoration is here, in the hooves of the bison.
From the Field,
P.S. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the translocation of quarantined Yellowstone bison to Ted Turner's private ranch and a Wyoming state park. BFC is reviewing the EA and we will soon alert you of our findings so you can help be a voice for the buffalo on this issue.
* Buffalo Battle: Cast Your Vote to Keep it Going!
Buffalo Battle is a new documentary-style TV program about the Yellowstone bison and the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. You can help make Buffalo Battle a series by visiting Planet Green to "vote for it." You can also register to submit comments about the show, or drop an email to Planet Green to let them know you want more! Buffalo Battle will continue to be shown on Planet Green, so check your local listings for show times and encourage your friends and family to tune in, and vote today for Buffalo Battle to continue!
* HOPE for the Buffalo ~ Enter Essay Contest, 12/31 Deadline
Endangered Species Chocolate currently has a program called It's Time For Hope, which is welcoming 500-word essays about the thing that gives you hope. Hope can be wild buffalo roaming free, pressing on against all odds. If your essay is chosen, the organization of your choice will be given $5,000. We hope that you will choose BFC. So far, three essays have been written for the buffalo, and with your help there will be many more. Visit the link below to learn more and submit your essay today!
* Last Words
''The only potential infection hazard from Yellowstone bison leaving the park is if they come into contact with reproductive cattle. Relatively few reproductive cows graze on land adjacent to Yellowstone, and grazing steers or horses are not at risk. We are spending too many resources on an issue with simpler and more positive solutions. I will be the first cattleman governor of Montana in decades. I will work with park officials, USDA, APHIS and landowners to find a commonsense solution that doesn't involve the wholesale slaughter of one of Montana's most recognizable symbols, or diminish the value of our cattle."
Brian Schweitzer responds to a question from a wild bison advocate during his Montana gubernatorial campaign, May 4, 2004.
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org. Thank you all for the poems, songs and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 1
2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 1
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 0
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,703*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities