Bozeman residents come out for the buffalo and plan next organizing steps: Next meeting set for April 9 for action on buffalo and other local issues

“Fighting for the Buffalo” - March 26, 2008Last night, at Montana State University, local residents joined Mike Mease of Buffalo Field Campaign for a couple short films and a discussion of the buffalo slaughter in and near Yellowstone National Park. This winter, more than 1,200 buffalo – a record number and more than 1/4 of the entire herd – have been killed. The event featured a short narrated film showing the hazing of buffalo and their treatment at capture facilities. Later it also featured new footage of wild elk in capture facilities near Pinedale, Wyoming (see story about their capture). The point being that even the elk – wildlife prized by hunters – are increasingly being harassedBuffalo by government agencies and compromised as wildlife.

The night also brought news of the arrest of two volunteers with Buffalo Field Campaign, who locked themselves down in the Visitor’s Center at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Mike Mease, the featured speaker, reported CNN as being on the scene taking footage of the event. CNN had also interviewed Mike, who says that it will probably air sometime next week.

There were two dozen people in attendance, most of whom were sympathetic to the cause of the buffalo. A spirited discussion took place on the exact cause of the problem, the role of brucellosis in the problem, and the influence of the livestock industry in preventing solutions to the problem. Mease pondered why it was that vaccinated cows in the Tetons have been able to co-exist with bison infected with brucellosis without a single transmission of brucellosis, and yet in Montana, the common sense solutions that might allow bison to wander while protecting livestock interests have been ignored. The general trend in the conversation was that brucellosis was not the real issue behind the slaughter.Elk being harrassed at a capture facility

From the standpoint of Bozeman activists, the exciting part of the evening was seeing the energy for various next steps. More details will be forthcoming, but those interested in pursuing actions locally on the buffalo and other local issues related to environmental, economic, and social justice will be meeting Wednesday, April 9, at 7 PM in the Montana State University Student Union Building. To find out more, to get involved, and to post and receive announcements related to activism in Bozeman, please sign up for the listserve by sending a blank email to bab-announce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. And, keep checking bozemanactivist.wordpress.com.

A few further notes about the group in formation.

1. The intention of the group, as understood by those organizing it – subject to change by the group itself – is that it will focus not simply on the buffalo but on all issues of concern from an environmental, economic, and/or social justice perspective.

2. This new group has no and will have no designated leaders (over the whole group) and will make decisions based on some form of consensus process.

3. All ideas are welcome; if you have something to offer, bring it. The group belongs to everyone, and we welcome all energy and a diversity of means for bringing about action.

4. We aim to be a community encouraging action; bring that spirit with you when you get involved. We may not all be energized by everyone else’s ideas or may not agree with each other, but let’s not dampen the energy of others and do what we can do to support them.

5. We aim for an organizing space where people are respectful of each other and encourage others to step forward and speak out. As much as we can to empower the space for everyone to have a say, we will do that. If it means breaking into smaller groups so voices are heard, making sure that some of us who talk more talk a little less, then that’s what we’ll do to meet our goal.

So, come out on Wednesday, April 9. Wherever you are in our local region, whoever you are, if you have a passion for something and want to see it through, wander on in. We know we’ll be talking about buffalo, but what else? That’s up to you!


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