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3 January 1999 Issue

The Last Buffalo Report

[Editor's Note: As you might recall, Animal Rights Online's staff journalist, PrkStRangr@aol.com, is with the activist group Buffalo Nations just outside Yellowstone National Park. This is his last article before he leaves Montana.]

Thank you, readers, for bearing with me during this series about the slaughter of the bison of Yellowstone, and forgive me if I seem long winded today, but this is the last piece I will write from the encampment of Buffalo Nations, a group trying to protect the bison from the bullets of the state of Montana.

I don't know how much good I have actually done for the bison during my two week tour of duty with this activist group. The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) hasn't killed any bison yet this winter. I like to believe the patrols by Buffalo Nations, and our constant monitoring of the buffalo, act as deterrents to DOL activity.

Perhaps the knowledge I have gained and the articles I plan to write for magazines and the speeches I plan to give are the best efforts I can make. And in those I will keep repeating - please visit this website:

Buffalo Nations
www.wildrockies.org/buffalo

Read the information and write a letter of complaint to the state and federal agencies whose addresses are given there.

I have learned a little bit more about the slaughter of the buffalo, but there are still a few things I don't understand. I don't understand why, with all the local opposition, the Montana government continues to move ahead with their bison eradication programs. I don't understand why the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, two agencies charged with the protection of our wild lands and wildlife, have handed over "management" of the bison to the cattle industry of Montana. YOU, as a U.S. citizen, are part owner of one of the world's last wild bison herds. OUR two thousand buffalo of Yellowstone National Park are being stolen, the meat sold, the skulls and hides auctioned and the profits kept by the state of Montana. Now Montana has the gall to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture for half a million dollars a year for the next ten years of OUR tax money to help them operate a new bison capture and kill facility. There are already two of these facilities, I guess that's not good enough. (Your comments to the Forest Service on this new facility must be in by Jan. 13.

Please read this webpage and write or email a letter -
www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/eacomment.html
You can help prevent future bison deaths)

In the past winters when the agents of the Montana Department of Livestock were shooting bison with rifles, the cruelty was more obvious, the media more attentive, the public more offended. As the killing becomes more institutionalized and moves behind the doors of slaughterhouses, the focus of the public moves to other issues.

The Montana DOL recently spent $15,000 in a public relations campaign to make themselves look good. A number of times in the past two months they have chased bison back into Yellowstone Park using snowmobiles and explosive shotgun rounds. The DOL says that through these actions they have "saved" the lives of 500 buffalo that they would have otherwise had to shoot. Actually, these "500" were a small group that the DOL chased back into the park over and over on ten different days. By continually chasing them and making them use energy they need to survive the winter, and by preventing them from finding the food they are seeking on public forest land outside Yellowstone Park, the DOL is increasing the chances that these bison will die this winter.

As my time here in Montana with Buffalo Nations draws to a close, I pray for their diligence in protecting the buffalo. I hope none of these volunteers are injured. I hope that if any are pushed to acts of civil disobedience, they have good cause and receive fair justice. And of course, I pray for the buffalo.

-PrkStRangr@aol.com , Animal Rights Online

 

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