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Save America's Last Wild Buffalo Herd from Proposed Montana Legislation

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Originally Posted: January 29, 2013

Save America's Last Wild Buffalo Herd from Proposed Montana Legislation

FROM Buffalo Field Campaign

ACTION

Tell Montana Govenor and Legislators that you oppose another round of anti-buffalo bills introduced in the 2013 Montana legislature - SB 143 and HB 312 (details below). Stand up for our natural heritage by protecting America's last wild buffalo.

If you can't attend the public hearings, please call and contact an entire committee or individual Montana legislator via this number:
(406) 444-4800

Steve Bullock
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
(855) 318-1330 or (406) 444-3111
fax (406) 444-5529
govelect@mt.gov

FIND and CONTACT Montana Legislators
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

bison buffalo Montana Yellowstone

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

Thursday, January 31, Hearing on SB 143 Senate Fish and Game committee (Room 303, 3 PM)
Thursday, January 31, Hearing on HB 312 House Agriculture committee (Room 472, 3 PM)

Please attend and testify and submit comments to kill these bills:

* SB 143, sponsored by Sen. John Brenden (Scobey, MT), this bill makes it mandatory for the Dept. of Livestock to "immediately" destroy all buffalo migrating into Montana by firearms, and or subject them to hazing, capture, quarantine, and transport to slaughterhouses. SB 143 kills Montana's statewide bison reintroduction plan (MCA 87-1-216) by prohibiting any bison from being translocated except to the National Bison Range in Moiese. SB 143 establishes a buffalo hunt "statewide and at any time of the year" for people 12 years of age or older and repeals the prohibition on state officials directing hunters to the "actual physical locations" of buffalo to be killed.

* HB 312, sponsored by Rep. Alan Redfield (Livingston, MT) this bill gives the Montana Dept. of Livestock unprecedented authority over migratory elk populations and other public wildlife. HB 312 requires Montana's veterinarian "in coordination" with Fish, Wildlife & Parks to "develop brucellosis surveillance and prevalence reduction procedures" for elk in southwest Montana. As practiced by Montana, brucellosis "prevalence reduction" in wildlife means drugging/capturing, testing for antibodies and slaughter.

While there has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission from migratory buffalo to cattle, HB 312 requires the Montana state veterinarian to enforce MCA 81-2-120 in a manner that eliminates or minimizes any disease risk "as much as possible." That means if migratory buffalo were identified by the state vet as a source of infection in livestock, HB 312 would require buffalo to be destroyed by firearms, and or subject them to hazing, capture, quarantine, and transport to slaughterhouses. In brief, HB 312 would eliminate wild migratory buffalo from occupying habitat in Montana altogether if the state veterinarian finds buffalo to have likely infected cattle with brucellosis. A Fiscal Note for HB 312 has been requested to determine the costs borne by taxpayers and hunters.

HB 249, which passed the House Agriculture committee 12-5, gives legal sanction to any landowner to 'take' (destroy or harass) migratory buffalo on private property. HB 249 is an attempt to gut a long-standing wildlife protecting precedent set by the Montana Supreme Court and recently re-affirmed in a 2013 court decision in Park County recognizing migratory buffalo are part of Montana's landscape and natural heritage and cannot be destroyed just for being on private property. A House floor vote could come this week.

Several more bills are in draft stage that would permit state officials to identify "the actual physical location" of buffalo to be shot by hunters (LC 1168), and exclude buffalo from being translocated to the Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area (LC 1827).

If you can't attend the public hearings, please call and contact an entire committee or individual Montana legislator via this number: (406) 444-4800.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!


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