Thursday, December 9, 2010

Buffalo--Harmony in Nature

The Yellowstone buffalo issue shows the struggles of our own lives, yet they don't bow to the destructiveness of others. In fact, they tackle it head on and they've been persistant for over 200 years. Natural Law cannot be destroyed.

The buffalo teach a soft way to live, yet at the same time, strength and determination to not submit to what goes against Nature.

Buffalo have the quality of stability--always being provided for by Nature. They are harmony in Nature.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Charges Dropped Against BFC Volunteers!

This is from the BFC update

Volunteers Exonerated for Illegal Arrests by Government Agents
Court Dismisses Charges Against Buffalo Field Campaign Volunteers

Last week two Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers were cleared of criminal charges stemming from a June 2, 2010 arrest in the Gallatin National Forest outside Yellowstone National Park. The two volunteers were videotaping wild Yellowstone bison that were attempting to follow their ancient migration route out of Yellowstone National Park and onto public land in the Gallatin National Forest.

Government agents on horseback, employed by the Montana Department of Livestock and other agencies, were hazing the bison down a road toward Yellowstone National Park. As the two volunteers attempted to videotape the hazing operation, a government agent ordered them to get inside their vehicle. When the volunteers questioned the legality of the order, they were arrested. Their preliminary hearings in Gallatin County Justice Court were set for the end of August. Before those hearings could occur, their charges were dismissed by the judge "for good cause shown" on August 16, 2010.

The Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers were represented by attorney Summer Nelson and cooperating Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Rebecca Smith. In response to the dismissal of the charges, Smith stated, "we had a video recording of the incident so it was undisputed that these two volunteers were simply standing on public land trying to videotape a government operation. They were not in an area closed to the public; they were not blocking the movement of the buffalo or the agents; and they spoke to the agents and police officers in a respectful manner. They simply weren't willing to relinquish their constitutional rights to be present on open public land and film a matter of public interest." She continued, "Buffalo Field Campaign has been videotaping and publicizing these hazing operations for 13 years. We didn't need a trial to establish that these volunteers didn't break the law."

Lauren Regan, attorney and Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center added, "It is extremely unfortunate that public officials abused their power in an attempt to chill the lawful constitutional rights of citizens. Monitoring government operations, especially cruel and unnecessary ones like this, is a basic tenet of our democratic duties as citizens. The government agents in question should be provided some training on the Constitution and Bill of Rights as soon as possible so that this type of travesty does not occur again."

Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director Dan Brister stated: "After years of frivolous arrests and trumped up charges against our volunteers, it is refreshing to see that the courts are capable of delivering real justice."Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field and on the policy front to protect America's last wild buffalo and their habitat.

Rebecca Smith, Missoula, MT, 406-531-8133
Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Eugene, OR, 541-687-9180

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Predator Derby

I just heard about this on Howling for Justice.

So, what is it? In Idaho and all over the country, it's a "sport" for hunters to kill as many of the "chosen predators" as possible in a certain length of time while gaining points and prizes (yipee)for what they kill!! Last year the "chosen predators" were; coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and wolves. This is in addition to the state hunting seasons. (Too bad there isn't a "hunter derby")

Friday, July 16, 2010

Appropriations $ to Slaughter Bison

Tester and Baucus succeeded in getting passed in legislation, money to "fight and manage the threat of brucellosis." The money would come from the Agriculture Appropriations Act.

The Agriculture Appropriations Act would give funding to
Montana Department of Livestock's Brucellosis Management-- a.k.a. bison slaughter.

Tester and Baucus have requested
$500,000 for Montana State University- Bozeman to:
  • create refine and simplify brucellosis vaccines for livestock,
  • to develop an effective vaccine for bison and elk
  • to test the vaccines in animals. (Animals...this is pretty vague.)
They also request $500,000 to implement the Tribal Quarantine Facility for Yellowstone National Park Bison for the Inter Tribal Bison Cooperative in Fort Belknap.

This money would be used to:
  • develop facilities on Tribal lands in Montana to deal with the buffalo coming out of the Yellowstone National Park quarantine facilities

The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Help Us Get 3,000 Signatures in 3 Days!

Montana Trap-Free Public Lands I-160

Last Chance To Sign the Petition!

Deadline Friday, June 18

Come to the Medical Arts Building

On Last Chance Gulch,

Across from the Parrot

Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Help make our public lands safe for people, pets and wildlife, restore our waters, rebuild Montana’s habitat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Signature Gathering in Helena for I-160

For the past week I've been helping Montana Trap Free Public Lands gather signatures in Helena for their ballot initiative, I-160. The initiative would prohibit the commercial and recreational trapping of wild animals on public lands in Montana. Yes, this old cruel sport still continues...
This initiative has been approved not only by the Attorney General's Office, but by FWP's lawyer.

Trapping not only hurts wildlife, but has killed many many peoples' dogs and even people have stepped in these traps not knowing they were there because it's NOT a law to mark traps. The laws for trapping are extremely lax.

Trappers make up only a few thousand people in the state. Less than .5 of 1% of the population in MT traps. Yet, there are literally 10's of thousands of traps on public lands--which make up only 35% of the state.

Gathering signatures has surprisingly been easy. There are always 1 or 2 people on a given day who are upset with the initiative for many reasons:

  • Trapping is someones livelihood.
  • Public land is open to ALL forms of recreation.
  • If adults, kids, or pets get caught in a trap the adults or parents are "idiots" and irresponsible for not watching where they go, keeping an eye on their kids or putting their dog on a leash.
I've met lots of people who know someone whose dog has been caught in a trap. I've also met people who don't even know trapping is legal.

There are ALOT of people who dislike trapping as this public opinion poll in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle shows.

The public doesn't want trapping to continue on public lands. Why should a few thousand people in this state have TOTAL control over them? This is why America has provided its citizens with the power to change old out-dated laws.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Suzanne Lewis on Bison Management

I was talking with someone today about MT and the buffalo and I remembered this letter I wrote to Suzanne Lewis-YNP Superintendent in 2009. Here's a copy past from the email I received from Lewis.

Dear Ms. Vincent,
Please see Superintendent Lewis' responses to your questions in red below.
Thank you for your interest in Yellowstone National Park.

Dear Suzanne Lewis,

I read an article in the Helena Independent Record entitled 'Brucellosis
Most Difficult Issue Facing Yellowstone National Park, Neighbors'.

I have a few questions regarding how brucellosis is to be managed.
First, the article states, "Lewis said federal researchers are expected to
unveil later this year a new study looking at ways of remotely vaccinating
bison against the disease. She said all entities in the debate should rally
around developing better vaccines and better ways of administering them to
My question is, why administer it to bison when there has been no evidence
of bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle especially when there are no
cattle present in the areas the bison roam?
This measure will indirectly lead to greater tolerance for bison on low
elevation winter ranges in Montana (i.e., on areas outside the jurisdiction
of the National Park Service), through reducing the seroprevalence of
brucellosis in bison.

Under natural conditions, the risk of transmission of brucellosis from
bison to cattle is low (only because of our current management practices).
The Interagency Bison Management Plan has committed human resources to keep
cattle and bison separated, especially during the third trimester of
pregnancy and through the end of the birthing season for bison. This
measure virtually eliminates the probability of bison to cattle
transmission of brucellosis. However, transmission of brucellosis from
naturally infected captive bison to cattle has been documented in North
Dakota on a range were bison and cattle commingled. Bison to cattle
transmission has also been documented under experimental conditions when
the two species were contained in pens at Texas A&M University. Bison to
cattle transmission is a situation that Yellowstone bison managers can not
allow to happen, but is quite likely if bison were to colonize currently
vacant ranges outside the national park. Check out these publications for
more details about bison to cattle brucellosis transmission:

Flagg, D. E. 1983. A case history of a brucellosis outbreak in a
brucellosis free state which originated in bison. Proceedings of the U.S.
Animal Health Association 87:171-172.

Davis, D. S., J. W. Templeton, T. A. Ficht, J. D. Williams, J. D. Kopec,
and L. G. Adams. 1990. Brucella abortus in captive bison. I. Serology,
bacteriology, pathogenesis and transmission to cattle. J. Wildlife
Diseases 26 (3):360-371.

Davis, D. S., J. W. Templeton, T. A. Ficht, J. D. Williams, J. D. Kopec,
and L. G. Adams. 1995. Response to the critique of brucellosis in
captive bison. J. Wildl. Dis. 31 (1):111-114.

To probe even more of the details of interspecies transmission, read
"Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area," by Norm Cheville and Dale
McCullough, published by the National Academy Press in Washington D.C. You
can read portions of the book at the National Academy of Sciences web site.

In order for the state partners to feel more secure about allowing more
bison onto low elevation winter ranges in Montana, The NPS needs to make
progress toward reducing the brucellosis prevalence in the bison (a part of
the agreement settlement from 2000). The goal of a vaccination program
would be to break the infection cycle and eventually reduce the impacts of
this disease on our wild bison population. This in turn should open up
more space for bison on low elevation areas that are outside our management

The article states that you said the bison will not be 'rounded up and
eliminated' in order to get rid of brucellosis.
My next question is, then why have over 6,000 bison been slaughtered with
1,613 of those just this past winter?

While brucellosis risk management actions have resulted in many bison being
captured and sent to slaughter over the years, the population abundance has
remained between 2,000 and 5,000 since 1980. One of the primary goals for
management of the Yellowstone bison is to maintain a population of free
ranging bison within a primary conservation area describe by the Record of
Decision. I refer you to these resources at our web site for more details: (start at
page 20)

The article states, 'Yellowstone ought to keep its bison herd to 3,000
animals.' 'Lewis said that number merely sets out how the animals will be
managed; it does not require the park to limit the number of wild bison.'
What do you mean by 'limit the number'?
So far, they can't even reach 3,000 due to the slaughtering every year.
Do you mean 'limit' as in lowest number that is allowed to live?

See the web sites listed above for information on the bison population.
The current bison population estimate (June 2008) is approximately
2,800-2,900 animals.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Eva Vincent
Descendant of former Acting Superintendent of Glacier National Park, Ray
Vincent and of John Vincent a previous Foreman of Glacier National Park

Thursday, March 25, 2010

NPS Centennial Coins

Here's an update to yesterday's article. I just found out that Ken Salazar is asking Congress to pass legislation authorizing the U.S. Mint to issue coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. Salazar wrote in a letter to Peloski on his draft of the bill for commemorative coins. Here are some excerpts.
“Commemorative coins would bring national and international visibility to the history and the mission of the Service as a whole as well as its many parks and programs during the bureau’s centennial year." [Bison slaughter is part of their "mission."]

In Salazar's draft of this bill he states that the National Park Service's core mission is,
"to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." ["unimpaired" well it's a little too late for that:P]

Regarding the 100th anniversary of NPS Salazar says it will,
"mark the beginning of the organization's second century of service to the American people as environmental leaders and vigilant stewards of the nation's treasured places and stories." [WOW!]

There will be a surcharge on each coin.
"The proceeds from a surcharge on the sale of commemorative coins will assist the financing of the needs of the National Park Service's parks and programs, helping to ensure that our nation's great natural and cultural resources will endure for generations to come." [More $$$ for bison slaughter]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Coin Designs to Celebrate Conservation?

You are all familiar by now with the U.S. quarter series in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, featuring each state, including the U.S. territory of Guam. Well, now this year a new quarter series will begin next month in April dedicated to the national parks. Each quarter will feature on one side a 1932 portrait of George Washington and on the other an image depicting a national park totaling 56 coins. The first park will be Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas with the image of the park headquarters with the National Park Service emblem.

Yesterday was a ceremony in WA D.C. unveiling the design for the Yellowstone quarter (pictured right) which will be out in June. What is pictured on the coin is none other than old faithful with a bull bison in the foreground.

"The program is designed to celebrate the nation's legacy of conservation." NPS

Conservation?? Yeah right! For the past 200 years these bison have been slaughtered to near extinction. Even as you read this the Montana Department of Livestock is getting ready for their spring hazing of these remnants. This animal that once numbered into the millions is now down to a meager 3,000 and will be even less if they are slaughtered by government agencies as in the past.

Also, there is a new "study" that is to be carried out this year by Animal Plan Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The guise basis for this is to determine whether or not bull bison (as pictured above in the new U.S. coin) transmit brucellosis to cattle. Of course this is FALSE. First, brucellosis is a reproductive disease brought into this continent by European cattle. It causes cattle to abort their first calf. The disease is transmittable by ingestion of infected afterbirth or infected milk. Brucellosis was first found in Yellowstone bison in 1917 after some buffalo were fed milk from infected cows. Most wildlife are infected or have been at some point and now carry antibodies to the disease. Second, no buffalo would voluntarily mate with domestic cows. This new "study" of APHIS constitutes tranquilizing 50 bull bison, even in rut, in order to study their semen and blood.

Then, there is the deal with Ted Turner where 87 bison, who had been in quarantine were given to Turner for his bison ranch. In a previous post I said 88 were going. This is true, but only 87 went because one cow wasn't pregnant. Here are some more numbers to consider in this atrocity:

40 are still in quarantine at Corwin Springs
86 are housed at Turner's (21 of these are pregnant)
122 have been slaughtered
1 calf died after transport to Turner's land

If this is a "legacy of conservation" then it is very dismal to say the least.

If you would like to help out in saving this countries LAST genetically pure, continuously wild bison check out Buffalo Field Campaign. This is the only group in the field year round documenting the government's actions against the buffalo and taking the issue to WA D.C.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Action Needed to Help Yellowstone Bison!!!

(The following is from BFC)

Stop APHIS from Harming Wild Bull Bison

Without adequate notification to the public, in late-February, the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department of Veterinary Services (VS) released an Environmental Assessment that outlines their intention to immobilize bull bison in the field in order to study their semen and blood. Their purported reasons for undertaking this study are to determine if bull bison can transmit brucellosis. APHIS intends to dart and immobilize wild bull bison - up to 50 individuals - on Gallatin National Forest lands north and west of Yellowstone's boundary. APHIS has not disclosed the immobilization chemical they intend to use on bison. APHIS also wishes to conduct another phase of this study inside Yellowstone National Park, on bull bison during the rut (mating) season. Yellowstone has flatly denied APHIS's requests for permits, demonstrating that this study is undesirable and unnecessary.

It is already widely accepted that bull bison pose a zero risk of transmitting brucellosis to domestic livestock, and there has never been a documented case of any wild bison transmitting the livestock disease brucellosis back to cattle. APHIS is also under the false impression that wild bull bison would actually choose to mate with domestic cows, however, in the history of cattle being on the buffalo's landscape, this has never happened. Artificial insemination is the only means by which to cross Bison bison with domestic cattle.

Buffalo Field Campaign is adamantly opposed to this study as it is unwarranted, poorly thought out, lacks critical information as well as the necessary permissions APHIS needs to carry it out. More importantly, it will be dangerous to bulls and possibly other buffalo, and will result in absolutely no benefit to wild bison. APHIS also put forth minimal effort to notify the public that this Environmental Assessment was available for public comment, so Buffalo Field Campaign has requested an extension for public comment, but currently there is very little time in which to act. APHIS's comment period ends on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. However, everyone who cares about wild bison should continue to send in comments even after the closing of the public comment period.

Take Action Here:

Download and read APHIS's EA.

Who is APHIS?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

YNP Bison Count

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

March 17, 2010 10-015
Al Nash (307) 344-2015


Yellowstone Late Winter Estimate Shows 3,000 Bison

Yellowstone National Park recently completed a late winter bison population
abundance estimate.

The population is estimated at 3,000 bison.

The aerial survey was difficult to conduct this year, due to low snowpack and the resulting bare patches of ground. These conditions are likely to have resulted in an underestimate of the population by as much as ten percent.

Fifty-six percent of the bison are in the Northern Range herd, with forty-four percent in the Central Interior herd.

Last year's late winter population estimate was 2,900 bison.

State licensed and tribal hunters removed four bison from the population this year. No other bison have been captured or shipped to slaughter, or otherwise removed from the population this winter. [What about the 87 that went to Ted Turner? Interesting that this was left out.]

This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). Specific management actions may be modified based on expected late winter population levels, as corroborated by the summer population estimate.

The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana's brucellosis-free status. [B.S.]

The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Signature Gathering

Yesterday I volunteered with Montana Trap-Free Public Lands. The weather was windy, cold and about to rain. We were gathering signatures on I-60, an initiative to end trapping on public lands, "except as allowed for scientific and propagation purposes or for the actions of government in protecting the safety and health of citizens."

We set up an info. table downtown on the St. Patrick's Day parade route. Here we spread out to gather signatures. Being in Montana, most of the responses were, "No thanks." Others were more in opposition like, "People have a right to set up traps on public land." (yeah, and is it also your right to abuse other citizens, pets, and wildlife?)

In one hour I got a whopping 7, yes, that's right, 7 signatures! The others had gathered 13 each. By now it had been raining for a half hour, so we called it quits.

MTFPL needs 25,000 signatures by June. Currently they have only 5,000. If you're registered to vote in the state of MT please sign their petition here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Buffalo Get Double Hit from Ted Turner and MTDOL

BFC file photo.

Tuesday was full of events.

I'll start off with that this was the day it was announced that ALL 88 buffalo who've been in quarantine since 2005, will go to Ted Turner. They won't be hunted.

Turner’s representatives said the Yellowstone bison are too valuable to hunt and will be mixed in with a herd being conserved on another ranch he owns in New Mexico. New Mexico?!
No wonder the buffalo were given to Turner. He's removing them from the state. Exactly what Montana wants!

There were other options other than Turner of course, but these included sending the buffalo to Guernsey State Park in Wyoming, to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. But, Wyoming is too close to Montana and the Reservations are in Montana.

Turner had said that if some of the animals went to Wyoming, Montana would get fewer bison back because he needed a certain number to justify his expenses. Those costs are estimated at $480,000 over five years, or about $2,500 for every bison he will keep.

Turner is going to keep the animals hostage for five years and in return wants 75 percent of their offspring, an estimated 188 bison. He already owns more than 50,000 beefalo but wants the Yellowstone animals because of their pure genetics. Montana would get an estimated 150 bison back. My question is what on earth would Montana do with them other than slaughter them for their heads and hides.

"There were a lot of people that wanted them on public lands. We're not ready," said Montana wildlife chief David Risley. "The Turner option, all it does is buy us time to come up with a long term solution."(More lies...)

Russell Miller with Turner Enterprises said, "We welcome the opportunity to be partners with FWP in the stewardship of these iconic bison." (and make a profit off of them)

Miller said the deal with the state is to (I love this) "conserves Yellowstone bison genetics and increases the number of bison available to populate public and tribal lands." What a bunch of B.S.!

In addition to all this, the MTDOL held a secret "public" IBMP meeting Tuesday. Thanks to BFC's commitment to the buffalo they were on the phone with Department of Livestock (DOL) and Yellowstone National Park officials to learn what's in store for the remaining buffalo in YNP.

What were some IBMP changes--Less tolerance.
  • begin hazing and capturing buffalo if more than 100 migrate out of the Park's western boundaries between February 15 and April 10.
  • DOL will erect the Horse Butte buffalo trap, and they fully intend to slaughter. When BFC asked if IBMP partners would need to come to consensus on these drastic management changes, Marty Zaluski said no. Montana can do whatever it wants. Period.
You can contact Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis and Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Ericson and tell them to drop out of the IBMP.

The other event of the day was another swarm of earthquakes in YNP that lasted for 6 hours. The 2 largest quakes were 2.8 and 3.1. No coincidence.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Intelligent Vet says Bison are Brucellosis Free!

Montana has more plans for YNP buffalo who are in quarantine. In addition to sending 74 to Ted Turner to make him wealthier than he already is, the state is considering moving 14 bison to Wyoming’s Guernsey State Park. Another plan is to go back to the ol' fashioned way of doing things and just slaughter them. All at taxpayer's expense of course.

At a forum with ranchers and farmers a state vet, Jim Logan, said very supportive comments for the buffalo, "The bison have been tested enough that it is crystal clear that they are not infected. More than likely they have resistance factors in their systems, wherever they go, they are going to go there as a clean herd." (FINALLY someone with intelligence.)

Here's the draft proposal from FWP on moving the buffalo.

Send your comments to tell FWP NOT to ship out these buffalo and to base their decisions on science rather than greed.