Saturday, February 28, 2009

SB 337 Update

SB 337 doesn't allow the relocation of buffalo within the state of Montana.

Currently, there are 81 buffalo in quarentine due to breeding over the past few years. FWP, APHIS, and MTDOL are wanting to relocate 41 of the quarantined buffalo in April to the Eastern Shoshone Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The other 40 might be relocated in 2010 to Fort Peck and Fort Belknap reservations of northeast Montana. The buffalo relocating to Fort Peck would be in "roaming distance" of the home of Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey who supports SB 337.

Schweitzer's natural resources adviser, Mike Volesky, says the purpose of the relocation program was to create disease-free herds of buffalo. (yeh, out of 81? The current number of buffalo in Yellowstone-fewer than 3,000- already shows signs of inbreeding with twisted horns.)

Groups who do want to take the buffalo are being told by FWP they can have them on the condition that they go into quarentine (again) "for a few more years."

Montana doesn't want disease-free buffalo. They don't want buffalo period.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brucellosis & Wolves SF 87

Now the livestock industry is again going after the wolves, but this time they're using the notorious brucellosis argument that has already cost the lives of over 1600 buffalo and just recently 300 elk in the Madison Valley.

So, what has happened with the wolves?
A new bill is in the legislature, SF 87 (Scientifically Flawed 87). It would give $45,000 for the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission "to collect and test blood and tissue samples to determine the prevalence of the infectious disease in wolves." So far, its cleared the senate and 2 house committees and is now in the Wyoming House.

This is interesting because currently wildlife biologists said wolves in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and Montana have tested negative!! They did blood sampling of 16 just last summer.

Still again, Terry Kreeger, supervisor of the veterinary services branch for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said, "Given what we know today, we would consider wolves a dead-end host for bacteria, i.e., they become infected but they are not capable of transmitting it to other animals, even other wolves."

Regarding the elk.
"In the Madison Valley more than 300 elk have been killed in a "special hunt" to scare the great herds off of their winter range where cattle ranches have invaded." This is from BFC's blog.

AP about the wolves

Download SF 87

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Call for end to USDA's wildlife killing agency

That's the title of an AP article I just found.
This is good news for wildlife and all of us who are sick and tired of the Department of Livestock slaughtering native species!

The article is from last week and states that "115 environmental groups signed onto a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to abolish the U.S. Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services."

Currently tax payers are subsidizing a "$100 million program that kills more than 1 million wild animals annually, a program ranchers and farmers have defended for nearly a century as critical to protecting their livestock from predators."

Who oversees Wildlife Services? APHIS (surprise surprise)

What are some stats from this program? In 2007 121,524 carnivores were killed at the request of ranchers. As well as, "Hundreds of thousands of other animals, including ravens and raccoons, also are killed through the program." Black bears and endangered gray wolves are also among these according to the article.

Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the USDA says that when they are given a request they review each individual project "and move ahead only if there would be no long-term negative impact on the environment." What does this mean? Like they haven't had a "long-term negative impact on the environment." The whole industry is a negative impact. They've been killing buffalo and wolves for 200 years to get land for their livestock.

As stated in 1874 by U.S. Representative Conger,
"They (buffalo) eat the grass. They trample upon the plains upon which our settlers desire to herd their cattle and their sheep. They range over the very pastures where the settlers keep their herds of cattle. They destroy the pasture."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quarentined Buffalo EA

February 13th, FWP created an environmental assessment on translocating 41 buffalo who are in quarantine in Gardiner, MT to the Araphaho tribe in WY. These buffalo have been in quarantine since 2005 and have been tested as seronegative for brucellosis.

This is in complete opposition to SB 337 which says FWP is NOT allowed to relocate any buffalo who are in quarantine. So, surprizingly the supporting agencies are: USDA, APHIS, and Veterinary Services. Even more, these agencies see " [The buffalo's] release into the natural environment as brucellosis-free animals will serve an important conservation goal." !!!

Why quarentine? As stated in the EA, "to provide disease-free bison for conservation purposes." (yeh right) by "supplement[ing] genetic variation in existing bison herds or establish new herds on the American great plains where appropriate." (the buffalo shouldn't have been killed off in the first place.)

Download the Environmental Assessment

Thursday, February 12, 2009

SB 337 (Slaughter Bill 337)

So, a new bill aimed at eradicating America's last wild buffalo will have a hearing on Tuesday February 17th. The bill is the flip of HB 253 which was to give FWP management of the buffalo. SB (Slaughter Bill) 337 will do just the opposite and actually increase the number of buffalo sent to slaughter. Not only the ones who test positive for antibodies or the disease brucellosis, but those who have tested negative to both. [FWP] shall cooperate with the [DOL] in managing publicly owned wild bison or buffalo..The department [Fish, Wildlife and Parks] may not relocate wild buffalo or bison as a result of the state-federal bison quarantine feasibility study. If they're not relocated, they're slaughtered.

The Yellowstone buffalo are still called a species requiring disease control. Here's something interesting the bill says it will also designate other wild buffalo or bison as a species in need of management.

The department [FWP] is responsible for the management, including but not limited to public hunting, of wild buffalo or bison in this state that have not been exposed to or infected with a dangerous or contagious disease but may threaten persons or property.

There's ALOT of stuff in that sentence. I want to break it down.
that have not been exposed or infected This is key to allowing healthy, strong buffalo to be slaughtered.
a dangerous or contagious disease What are these?? This could be more than brucellosis. It looks like the legislature wants to make sure they don't miss anything.
may threaten persons or property--Only while being hazed.

Download SB337

You can help the buffalo by writing to President Barak Obama to take action and protect these magnificent animals. BFC has a sample letter that you can edit here

For the buffalo.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Response to HB 253

My mom attended the public comment in Helena, MT. Here's what she said.

Yellowstone Bison Herd
Protect, Respect, Honor

January 29, 2009

My name is Julia Vincent. I reside and work in the Helena area. I am the granddaughter of Montana homesteaders. My father's parents had a homestead along the North Fork of the Flathead River. My mother's family homesteaded in Daniels county. I was raised to revere and appreciate the land and her native inhabitants.

I am asking you to please support HB253.

The Yellowstone Bison Herd is the last remnant of the 35 million bison that once enjoyed freedom—freedom to roam, freedom to graze, freedom from abuse and slaughter by the Department of Livestock. Due to the relentless attempts by the DOL to exterminate the buffalo, they are now ecologically extinct. The Yellowstone Bison are the only true bison remaining in the U.S. All other herds are descendants of forced crossbreeding of cattle with bison. The Yellowstone Bison are indigenous wildlife, not livestock! The abuse and slaughter of these animals by the DOL is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayers' money. For the State of Montana to continue with the displacement and elimination of the indigenous inhabitants of the land, as has been done since the 1800's—this time at taxpayers' expense—violates public trust.

During the hazing operations, calves have been trampled to death, the herd has been chased onto ice where their members fell through and drowned. In the winter, when bison have left Yellowstone National Park in search of food, the DOL has forced them back into the park, where there is no food and they have starved. Some have died in cramped capture pens the DOL has forced them into. Again, all of this at taxpayers' expense. The DOL's justification for their actions? Brucellosis. Brucellosis is a disease that was brought to North America by imported livestock. Cattle are not indigenous to North America. They brought the disease with them. There has never been even one documented case of cattle contracting brucellosis from bison. Yet that is the lie and the excuse that taxpayers' money is spent on to abuse and slaughter indigenous wildlife. The DOL is working to protect the economic and political power of a few individuals in private industry. Again, back to the 1800's and with it, the beginnings of the range wars. So, why are the cowboys at the DOL being paid by Montana's taxpayers to “manage” native wildlife? Does this oligarchy of the cattle industry benefit Montana's economy? Montana's wages rank fiftieth in the nation. The cost of living here does not.

Because of the inhumane treatment of the Yellowstone Bison by the DOL, I quit purchasing beef a few years ago. I will not support an industry that allows acts of animal cruelty for which there has been no accountability.

To say the DOL is guilty of mismanagement of wildlife would be a euphemism. They have abused their power and misused taxpayers' funds. They need to be removed from wildlife management.
HB253 fails to address the need for year-round habitat for the bison. I ask that you would please amend it so that this is included in the bill. The Horse Butte Peninsula, a cattle-free area, would serve this need well. Public support for the bison and the absence of cattle should make this a conflict-free area.

This bill addresses the concerns of private property owners, both those who welcome the bison on their land and those who do not. It is a good thing to address the concerns of the citizens.
I close with following quote:

"In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn.." ~ Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa), Pawnee