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Update from the Field 10/10/02

In this Issue:




* Update from the Field - DoL Retaliate


* Thanks to our young supporters!


* Press Release 10/10/02


* Please pass this on to 3 friends in honor of the 3 wild buffalo that were killed last week and ask them to subscribe - it's simple just have them send an email to mailto:Stop-the-Slaughter-on@vortex.wildrockies.org and they can receive these updates - only 1/week!




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10/10/2002




Greetings Friends of the Buffalo!




One day after the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) suffered a major loss in the court system, they took it out on the buffalo. Today 4 DOL agents using a horse, ATVs and 4 by 4 trucks and wasted untold amounts of tax payer dollars to haze one bull buffalo 6 miles back into Yellowstone Park. Their original plan was to capture the buffalo using a helicopter, but unknown complications stopped its arrival.




The bull decided its own fate by losing the DOL and ran into Yellowstone National Park for safety. In my opinion, the DOL were trying to capture the buffalo today but were once again out smarted by this wise old bull. I'm sure the DOL's press release will state that they were trying to haze the bull into the park, but when you're not proud of your work - you often don't tell the truth.




For the past two weeks DOL have been in the area and have their sights aimed on killing all buffalo that leave the park this year. Their excuse is that the park buffalo population is 4,045, and that is their justification for not bothering with tests and just killing everything. Last years population was guesstimated between 3,300 and 3,500, minus 202 killed (not counting pregnant females as two). So do ya' think that the bulls had calves as well this year to account for this large population increase? (ha ha) This over funded government agency has no background in wildlife biology or management yet wastes hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars to "manage" buffalo annually. Meanwhile Montana's Governor is making huge cuts in education, social programs and many other valuable services. I guess I'm not that surprised since our Governor doesn't have a college degree herself.




We usually don't ask for volunteers until mid November, but we are in need of anyone who would like to come out and join us. Drop us a line for details mailto:buffalo@wildrockies.org. We also are running low on funds so if you can please help with donation - it would sure help. I would also like to thank John Chalinder for donating a van.




This year is on pace to be the toughest one in our five year history, if you have ever wanted to be more involved now is the time.





With the Buffalo,




Mike Mease


BFC


POB 957


West Yellowstone, MT 59758




406-646-0070 phone


406-646-0071 fax




buffalo@wildrockies.org


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A special thanks goes out to all our young elementary school allies who have been flooding DoL offices with letters! It's great to know that the DoL has personally responded to your concerns. This is what we call democracy in action. Thanks for all your efforts - Together we can make a difference!




Thanks also to all the kids who have responded with art and poetry for our newsletter contest (see kids page). The art and poems are inspirational to us and help us smile during tough times!


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Frustrated State Employees Retaliate Against Lone Wild Buffalo




For Immediate Release October 10,2002 Press Contact : Mike Mease 406.646.0070




While budget cuts hit hard across Montana, Department of Livestock (DoL) employees, frustrated by recent court defeats, wasted tax dollars on hazing a lone buffalo. State employees spent the day on ATVs, a horse and four wheel drive trucks running a lone bull buffalo miles back to the state border. "The operation today was unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers dollars that could have been spent better elsewhere," Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign stated.




The DoL has been reprimanded several times recently for ignoring Montana constitutional rights. The first incident was when a State District Court judge had to remind them that their records are open to the public since they are a public agency (Right to Know Lawsuit.)




Then, on Tuesday October 8, Joshua Osher had his day in court and was found not guilty by a six person jury in the Gallatin County Justice Court. Department of Livestock agent, Shane Grube, arrested Joshua on May 9, 2002, during a buffalo hazing operation charging that Joshua interfered with the operation. Joshua's trial consisted of testimony from two DoL agents, Shane Grube and Spike Twohy, and two BFC volunteers, Joshua and Laura Babcock. A video of the arrest was also presented at the trial. The same tape had been illegally confiscated by Grube previously.




The trial included Grube and Twohy's denial of the presence of a helicopter over Horse Butte on May 9 that both Joshua and Laura testified was there that day. After examining the evidence, the jury found unanimously that Joshua did not interfere with the operation.




"I couldn't believe that I was arrested. I was exercising my rights to document agency hazing operations and was arrested in an effort to suppress that right. I defended my rights in court and the jury saw the truth. These unlawful violations of our civil rights must stop," Osher said. "It is absurd that a rogue agency can act outside the law and arrest citizens without having any law enforcement training and the jury recognized that."




Another BFC volunteer recently had his case dismissed because of similar shady circumstances. Other trials are still pending for similarly ridiculous arrests.




"Wild buffalo are a symbol of America and yet, the Department of Livestock continues to treat them like domestic cattle. Folks with no wildlife management skills should not be managing these animals. Management activities are costly in more ways than one - they could have unknown impacts on this genetically unique herd," Mease added.




Even the Buffalo Management Plan formulated by public agencies state:




"Repeated hazing in early winter may produce weight loss and poor body condition, which decreases the animals ability to endure the remaining winter." (Volume I, page 762)




-20-




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Info regarding the buffalo and how you can help at


http://www.wildrockies.org/Buffalo




Contributions to BFC are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and support our aggressive, front line, grassroots volunteer work. We put the wild buffalo first! BFC is the only group working 365 days a year in Yellowstone protecting the last free-roaming buffalo.


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