Buffalo Field Campaign Update

Post 1030

Here is the latest update from the Buffalo Field Campaign. Below I have posted my condensed version of their email alert.
I do disagree with BFC that the solution to the bison imprisonment inside Yellowstone can be solved by boycotting beef. I have come to believe the actions of the Montana Department of Livestock have nothing to do with brucellosis and little to do with beef because there are so few cattle in the area. The forage is just waiting for bison to eat — there is no forage competition with cattle.

Perhaps it’s my career as a political scientist, but I see the whole matter as an attempt to maintain a political and cultural hegemony by the livestock industry over the area. It isn’t a matter of dollars. To use common terms, this fight isn’t over grass, or money. It’s over a grudge against newcomers and change held by politically influential parts of the Montana livestock industry.

For example, they haze the bison through the neighborhoods not because they have to or because they are unconcerned with safety. Montana DOL hazes them through the neighborhoods to show that they can. They are the boss, and the residents are at best second class citizens.

Ralph Maughan


Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field

May 17, 2007


View BFC Video Footage:


Make a Secure Online Donation to BFC:


* Update from the Field
* Take Action for Wild Buffalo ~ Boycott Beef!
* BFC Family Reunion: Celebrate Ten Years on the Front Lines!
* Support BFC: The Earth Friends Challenge Grant

* Update from the Field

Dear Buffalo Friends,
Thank you all so much for your letters and phone calls of encouragement
and solidarity after hearing about the unjust arrests of two BFC family
members. We are exploring every option and are feeling positive and
strong given the wealth of information we have received regarding these
unwarranted arrests and the unsolicited police brutality.

Things in the field have changed. Most agree that the attitude of law
enforcement has taken a five-year step backwards. All this week as BFC
documented bison harassment operations on public land – well within our
legal rights as a media organization, not to mention our civil liberties
– law enforcement officials working for livestock interests were using
any and every opportunity to keep us from witnessing and telling the
world what these agencies are doing to the last wild buffalo in the
United States. These agencies have even gone so far as to say that we
are the ones harassing the buffalo! Mark our words: the buffalo’s story
will never go untold and these agencies will always be challenged and
held accountable.

Of course, we are dealing with the very same government that attempted
to kill all the buffalo and the Indian people less than 150 years ago.
The government encouraged and participated in the buffalo slaughter of
the 1800s, yet they are oddly celebrated for choosing not to finish them
off after finding twenty-three buffalo who saved themselves in the
shelter of Yellowstone’s remote Pelican Valley. Now fenced-in public
herds and buffalo ranches make up the majority of buffalo (or beefalo)
populations in the U.S. and this is considered a “conservation success,”
while the Yellowstone buffalo, the last continuously wild herd, is
prevented from migrating and suffers harassment and death for stepping
foot across a political boundary. The last wild buffalo are treated as
ranch animals, and the government-backed cattle industry spins their
propaganda machine to try and convince you that everything is just
fine. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the mistreatment of
the buffalo invokes anger and frustration, turn it into action. In the
words of Ed Abby, “sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

The “tolerance” agreement that the IBMP agencies signed is null and void
because the MT Board of Livestock doesn’t like it. The agencies never
really put it into place anyway, and now the the Montana Board of
Livestock (BOL) and stockgrowers associations are complaining that there
was too much tolerance. At a recent BOL meeting the cattle interests
even complained to the DOL that they didn’t bring the helicopter out
soon enough, and after one particularly aggressive hazing operation, Meg
Smith of the BOL called the DOL agents to congratulate them on a job
well done. There has never been one iota of compromise on the cattle
industry’s part, not one measure of cattle-focused risk management; all
the burden is carried by the native wild buffalo. If one private
rancher (who doesn’t even have cattle on the land yet!) has a problem
with native wild buffalo he should either remove his cattle or put up a
fence. Ironically, about a week ago in Cody, Wyoming, a
brucellosis-infected elk fetus was found on a cattle ranch, and
officials remarked that since there were no cattle present, then there
was no risk of transmission. Given that Wyoming has just been
reclassified brucellosis-free, it seems that the rules of this range-war
change according whatever benefits the industry.

Yesterday the DOL hazed two bulls and the few remaining moms and babies
off of the Gallatin National Forest into Yellowstone with their
helicopter and then sent in horsemen to push them deeper into the Park.
They kept repeating the phrase “receptive habitat vs. lethal removal.”
While thankfully no buffalo have been captured or slaughtered yet this
spring, the industrial-strength hazing operations create a veritable war
zone and take a tremendous toll on the buffalo and the entire ecosystem.

While the livestock industry has failed to prove that wild buffalo pose
any threat of bison-to-cattle brucellosis transmission, they have used
this cattle-borne disease to ensure that Montana will be devoid of wild
buffalo in order to hoard the grass for cattle. How can an industry
that is so dependent upon government subsidies wield such
decision-making power? Why do those agencies mandated to protect and
conserve wildlife cater to the whims of cattle interests?

Stopping them is obviously not going to be easy, but it is possible.
Write letters, make phone calls, attend meetings, participate in blogs,
boycott beef, join us on the front lines, be creative and tell everyone
you know what is happening to the last wild buffalo. With “endless
pressure, endlessly applied,” together we will bring positive change.
The buffalo will never give up, and neither will we.

Roam Free,



* Take Action for Wild Buffalo ~ Boycott Beef!

The decision-makers have decided to turn a deaf ear to wild bison
advocates, choosing to serve only the economic interests of the harmful
and heavily-subsidized cattle industry. They wage a war against the
wild backed by government funds (your tax money), donning hand cuffs and
guns to intimidate anyone who goes against them. Those who we should be
able to turn to for help, for justice, are all part of the problem,
defending “the market” rather than life on Earth. It all comes down to
the dollar; anything going against that is to be ignored or even
removed. Politicians and decision-makers demonstrate time and again
that the only thing they will respond to is money. Herein lies your
power – we can put our money where our mouths are. We can make our
voices loud and clear by voting from the pocketbook. The cattle
industry has a product to sell: beef. If people don’t buy it, the
industry suffers the consequences. It’s the basic economics of supply
and demand. You have the ultimate power over the livestock industry:
you choose to buy their products or not. We are not powerless.

For the wild buffalo and all the wild animals and lands – and the cattle
themselves – that suffer at the hands of the cattle industry you can do
one thing to make a huge difference: BOYCOTT BEEF! It’s that simple.
If you don’t buy it, they don’t get your money. Boycotts originated with
Irish tenant farmers who were forced to grow food for the King of
England upon their stolen ancestral lands, and were beaten and starved
in the process. Thanks to those courageous rebel souls, those days are
long gone. Boycotts work when people participate, so please urge your
friends, family and coworkers to join with you in solidarity for the
wild. Do the restaurants you frequent sell beef? Encourage them to
stop (especially if it’s beef from Western states) while wild buffalo
are dominated by the livestock industry. If they aren’t responsive, let
them know that you will eat elsewhere.

Spread the word to save the herd ~ BOYCOTT BEEF!

Read “How the West Was Eaten” by Jeffrey St. Clair


Visit BFC’s Boycott Beef web page for more information and resources:


* BFC Family Reunion: Celebrate Ten Years on the Front Lines!

It is hard to fathom that for ten years now, since April of 1997, the
Buffalo family has shown the world the tragically disgraceful
Yellowstone buffalo story. All of the over 3000+ field volunteers,
20,000+ active supporters, prayers, songs, and stories of everyone who
has done anything to help these sacred beings, your presence is
requested. Buffalo Field Campaign would like to invite you to West
Yellowstone for our ten-year Buffalo Family Reunion during the week of
June 4th through the 9th. From June 4th through the 8th we will be
engaged in work projects around our property, nightly campfires,
reuniting, planning strategy, and holding vision sessions.

Saturday, June 9th, we will celebrate with a party with famed eco-rocker
Danny Dolinger, gifted native musician Good Shield, 7th Generation
Rise, and BFC’s own volunteer band Prisoners of Time featuring Hays,
Jesse, and a rumored special appearance by the famed Wally Festus Leusch.
Beer will be served at the event. Camping will be available at BFC

It has been a long hard road for our friends and family the buffalo and
they still need all of our help. Please come for the week, the weekend,
in spirit or in thought, but keep telling everyone you can of the
Yellowstone buffalo and their plight.

We will be holding a silent auction at the event and are are looking for
donated items. If you are an artist, craftsperson or have any items or
services you would like to donate to the auction, please get in touch!

If you are interested in staying in town, need other special
arrangements, or have any questions about the gathering, please contact
Mike Mease at mease@wildrockies.org.

For the Buffalo,

Mike Mease

P.S. If you are coming from or through Colorado and have room for
others, please let us know because there are friends who could use a
ride. Thanks!


* Support BFC: The Earth Friends Challenge Grant

We are excited to let you know about a Challenge Grant from Earth
Friends Wildlife Foundation which has given us the opportunity to raise
$40,000 to fund BFC’s front lines efforts to protect the Yellowstone
buffalo and their right to migrate to their critical habitat within
Montana. Every donation made between now and the end of May qualifies
for the Earth Friends match. All funds raised through this unique
opportunity will go directly toward achieving long-term protection for
Yellowstone buffalo.

Please help Buffalo Field Campaign remain a strong force in the field
and in all decisions affecting management of this irreplaceable herd.
Your support has enabled us to bring worldwide attention to the last
wild buffalo in the U.S. and to hold government agencies and livestock
interests accountable. Thanks to the caring and generosity of you, our
supporters, and the unique opportunity presented by the Earth Friends
Wildlife Foundation, we can keep our focus on the bison, where it
belongs. With your help we can raise at least $40,000 in support of our
front lines work through the Earth Friends Challenge Grant. Ensure the
future of BFC with a donation today. If everyone receiving this email
answers the Challenge, we will exceed our fundraising goal and remain a
strong presence working in defense of the last wild buffalo.

Visit www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bisonmerchandise/bisonmerchandise.html

to make a secure online donation, or mail your monetary gift to BFC,
P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758. Thank you for making BFC







  1. Rob Avatar

    I agree with your position that it is more about power than any specific effect on the ground. This goes for almost all conflicts in the West – Wolves v ranching, wolves v hunting, … The fight is rarely over some specific measured impact, but instead about power and influence. I don’t believe that Idaho Governor Otter really wants to hunt a wolf, its just the fact that he might be able to that makes the difference. And now that he has made the statement, it is a critical priority to follow through on it. Its a no compromise world…

  2. Kalanu Avatar

    Boycotting beef is not THE solution. It is one thing among many that BFC proposes people do to show their disapproval of the livestock industry.
    In this day in age we do a lot of voting with our dollar. Why support an industry that is so destructive to the land and so determined to deny it’s harmful actions?
    Did you see the new UN report claiming that livestock are harmful to the environment.
    The least you can do is not give your power (money) to people who destroy that which we love.

  3. Raynauld Avatar

    Humans are equally destructive to the land, and maybe even moreso. At least we have the mental capacity and reasoning to change our habits and the destruction we place upon the environment. Livestock only destroy land because they were placed in that area by our destructive reasoning. We, humans are to blame for the destruction of the land, not the animals.

  4. Monte Avatar

    I personally think the BFC people are nuts, but Montana’s position on bison is equally bizarre. Given the low chance of bison to cattle transmission, it is just crazy to continually deny the bison use of public land outside the park. It is obviously purely political and both groups are embarassing themselves.

  5. be Avatar

    it is inspiring to see a group of people able to come together and demonstrate an example of civic involvement and engagement that is far too absent in this country ~ that is compelling in itself.

    i agree that boycotting beef may not be the most effective political remedy to the scourge that the livestock industry represents on public lands – be it buffalo, biodiversity in general, or just plain financial responsibility with our tax dollars etc.

    i divest myself of participation in the commercial beef industry regardless of its political implication. we know that the industry is not good for the earth. we know that the industry is not good for our health (hormones, antibiotics, etc.). i don’t think that it is wrong for individuals to eat beef if that is what they choose ~ the institutional inertia is to blame for continuing along its wayward path. it is wrong for me given what i believe – to hell with whether the politicians listen.

    i would encourage anyone to go a week without beef ~ just to see how easy it really is.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I continue to I disagree with BFC can make much headway on the bison imprisonment inside Yellowstone by boycotting beef.

    However, I do want to add that to not eat beef is, as BE points out, ethically appropriate and good for your health .

    I haven’t eaten beef for about 5 years. I do eat organic chicken and sometimes the industrial variety too, as well as turkey.

    Since the Rolling Stone article on the hog CAFOs, I’ve lost my taste for pork.

  7. Wolfy Avatar

    This is one woof that doesn’t eat beef; I prefer bison or venison to the chemical, antibiotic, and hormone laced, factory produced, range fleas that infest our wild lands. The harassment and slaughter of our national legacy, bison, has to end. I applaud the BFC and other like them that are committed to fighting the atrocities perpetuated by the greed of the industrial/military/political regime.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan