buffalo field campaign yellowstone bison slaughter Buffalo Field Campaign
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Stop them before they start: CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY!

In a spiteful move before a meeting of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) revealed shocking plans to harass, capture, vaccinate and slaughter wild, migratory buffalo in the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone National Park.  Scroll down to take action now, or read on for more info first.

State veterinarian Marty Zaluski's proposal targeting buffalo would begin following the end of Montana's buffalo "hunt" on February 15, 2014 but while Treaty hunting is underway.

Vaccinating and slaughtering wild buffalo is a political move designed to placate livestock interests who have never committed to allowing native wild buffalo to occupy any habitat in Montana. Vaccination will not make things any better for the buffalo or Montana's tarnished image. It is only the latest weapon in an arsenal being used to domesticate our last wild bison herds.

The DOL appears determined to proceed despite strong objections and opposition from the National Park Service, Nez Perce, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, InterTribal Buffalo Council, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The funding for Montana Dept. of Livestock's wild buffalo vaccination and slaughter program comes from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -- a federal livestock agency that has funneled over $7,000,000 taxpayer dollars to the state livestock agency to harm the public's wild buffalo including on public lands. These
American taxpayer funded “cooperative funding agreements”  enable Montana to carry out these despicable attacks on America's last wild migratory buffalo.

The DOL proposes to trap buffalo in pens on private lands at Duck Creek, on public lands at Horse Butte and on state lands along the Madison River. 

Once captured, buffalo would be brutally run through squeeze chutes to test for exposure to the cattle disease, brucellosis.  Buffalo would be injected with RB51, a vaccine designed for cattle, fitted with metal tags and marked like livestock. Buffalo showing an immune response -- indicating resistance to the cattle disease, not infection - would be trucked to slaughter houses by livestock agents. 

The consensus of a panel of scientists convened in 2013 to review hand vaccination in pens and remote vaccination without capture, concluded the “Best available data does not support” vaccinating buffalo. RB51 is an experimental and ineffective cattle vaccine not approved for use in wild buffalo. 

Yellowstone National Park's best available science (2010) says RB51 adversely affects buffalo's natural ability to resist infection from this exotic cattle disease and develop genetic immunity. There is also a real risk of vaccinating creating more virulent strains of the disease in buffalo - with potentially devastating effects for America's last wild population. 

TAKE ACTION!  Please contact your Members of Congress in the House and Senate and urge them to stop the DOL's plans and cut off funding for the Interagency Bison Management Plan!  You can use the sample letter below as a guideline, but personalized letters will carry far more weight, so we strongly urge you to add your own thoughts and to speak from your heart! If you are a Montana resident, please be sure to mention this in your letters.

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  • Updates from the Field Weekly Email Recipients

    BFC Op-Ed Why Vaccinating Wild Bison is Wrong

    BFC Fact Sheet on Vaccinating Wild Buffalo

    Vaccinating wild bison is a costly, wasteful and failed strategy meant only to placate livestock interests.  Mounting evidence suggests that vaccinating wild buffalo with RB51 could lead to increased levels of brucellosis transmission in the Yellowstone ecosystem and more virulent forms and stronger persistence of brucellosis in the wild bison population. The DOL must be prevented from harming America's last wild buffalo using tools designed for domestic livestock, while the cattle industry needs to be held accountable for introducing brucellosis to native wildlife.

    There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis back to cattle, even where bison and cattle co-exist.

    Elk also carry brucellosis and have been implicated in numerous transmissions to cattle, so if vaccinating wildlife were to ever be effective, all of the elk and all of the bison in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem would have to be routinely vaccinated; an impossible, unreasonable and highly objectional task.

    Except for their federal equivelent, the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) -- who would be funding this program with your federal tax dollars -- the DOL has met with strong opposition from the other agencies and tribes who are signed on to the Interagency Bison Management Plan, including Yellowstone National Park, the Nez Perce tribe, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.  There is no sound science to back their plans, nor any justification to carry them out in the first place.  The public is vehemently opposed to vaccinating wild bison.  The DOL has chosen to act as a rogue agency by ignoring the concerns and objections expressed by its IBMP partners, ignoring sound science, and will carry on regardless.

    Review editorials, letters, comments and lots of other information regarding Yellowstone's plans to vaccinate wild bison with "bio-bullets."  While these documents specifically address Yellowstone's proposal, it is the same vaccine discussed, and lends incredible evidence to the argument against vaccinating wild bison.  Visit this page

    to reveiw.

    On February 26-28, 2013, a brucellosis in Yellowstone bison science review and workshop was held.  Scientists with backgrounds ranging from wildlife, conservation and evolutionary biology to vaccinology, veterinary sciences, and infectious diseases shared their wisdom.  They were asked to come to consensus -- or as close to it as possible -- and concluded:

    • The best available data does not support that remote vaccination of bison with the currently available vaccines will be an effective tool for suppressing brucellosis in wild bison to a level that changes the IBMP management strategies."
    •  Disease dynamic models suggest reducing brucellosis prevalence in bison will at best be difficult and expensive even assuming an ideal (but presently unobtainable) vaccine with 100% efficacy, prevalence might be suppressed to ~30% prevalence over 30 years with an annual investment of $300,000-$500,000.
    •  [Vaccination of bison] would not change the overall brucellosis management framework because tolerance of bison in he wider landscape would be unlikely to change, even with such reduction.
    •  "..We do not anticipate that a vaccination program in bison will ... be an efficient use of resources."
    • An aggressive vaccination campaign for free-ranging bison cannot be justified based on available data

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