Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upcoming Buffalo Hearings

Dear Friends of the Buffalo,
Please attend and testify at these hearings in support of keeping the legal status and treatment of wild buffalo as wildlife (SB 207 and SB 212), for restoring wild free ranging buffalo in Montana (HB 318, SB 212 and SB 207), and keeping livestock inspectors from trespassing on private property where wild buffalo are valued and welcomed in our neighborhoods and communities (SB 148).  All of these bills need to be opposed and defeated.

PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED THIS WEEK ON BUFFALO BILLS IN HELENA, MONTANA CAPITOL BUILDING

SB 148 Hearing scheduled SENATE Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee Tuesday, January 25, Room 335, 3 PM

SB 207 Hearing scheduled SENATE Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 335, 3 PM

SB 212 Hearing scheduled SENATE Fish and Game Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 422, 3 PM

HB 318 Hearing scheduled HOUSE Agriculture Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 472, 3 PM

If you can't attend these hearings, please call and contact Montana legislators via this number: (406) 444-4800.

Please get involved and spread the word to save America's last wild buffalo herd!  Make contact with your Montana legislators through this link (click on the area where you reside): http://nris.mt.gov/gis/legislat/2011/

To submit written testimony, contact the secretary of the respective committee.  Address your testimony to the Chair and members of the committee, and ask that your testimony be entered into the hearing record.

House committee members (and secretaries) can be found and contacted through this link:  http://leg.mt.gov/css/House/house-committees-2011.asp

Senate committee members (and secretaries) can be found and contacted through this link: http://leg.mt.gov/css/Senate/senate%20committees-2011.asp


The primary sponsor Sen. Art Wittich is a Republican from Bozeman:  senatorwittich@montana.com. SB 148's exemptions for entry essentially guts the provision of notifying and obtaining approval from landowners PRIOR to Dept. of Livestock inspectors coming onto private property to force buffalo to flee said property.  Current law 81-2-120 does not permit livestock inspectors to trespass on private lands to harass and harm wild buffalo where they are welcomed and valued. There is no "public health and safety" threat where buffalo are permitted by landowners to be on their property. The logic of SB 148 begs the question:  will elk become a "public health and safety" threat too?

The primary sponsor Sen. Frederick "Eric" Moore  is a Republican from Miles City: mail@senatorericmoore.com. SB 207 reclassifies ALL buffalo as livestock in Montana. The Dept. of Livestock is required to impose a permit and inspection system for buffalo coming into/out of any county, or into/out of state. "A person who purposely or knowingly transports wild or domestic buffalo or bison in violation of rules adopted pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or both." Prohibits buffalo to "run at large" and makes owners of said buffalo liable with penalties for trespass onto private property. SB 207 classifies any wild buffalo, including those from Yellowstone as "estrayed," permitting the Dept. of Livestock to take them.

The primary sponsor Sen. Rick Ripley is a Republican from Wolf Creek. SB 212 requires Fish, Wildlife & Parks to adopt a plan BEFORE any wild buffalo can be released onto private or public lands in Montana. The plan MUST include: animal identification, tracking and containment measures (fencing and removal methods) in "designated areas" and makes Fish, Wildlife & Parks liable for any costs incurred for damages to private property. Fish, Wildlife & Parks "may not release or transplant wild buffalo or bison on state or federal land in Montana if the relocation or transplantation would negatively affect any existing multiple use of the land, including livestock grazing."

The primary sponsor Rep. Wendy Warburton is a Republican from Havre:  wendywarburton@gmail.com. HB 318 requires the approval of County Commissioners BEFORE the Dept. of Livestock or Fish, Wildlife & Parks may permit wild buffalo or buffalo certified brucellosis free to be relocated in Montana in the counties affected.

Thank you for taking action to protect America's last wild buffalo and their descendants as a valued wildlife species freely roaming Montana.
For the Buffalo,

Daniel Brister, Executive Director
Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field
and in the policy arena to protect America's last wild buffalo.

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