Action reports and essays
editors's note: Darrell Geist of Buffalo Field Campaign took extensive notes from the meeting of the partners of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) in Bozeman on August 6 and 7, 2008. He has given us permission to publish the notes here.
August 6, 2008
For what they are worth, sending these notes along to you all.
I used my 3 minutes to formally request that a management alternative that designates Horse Butte as wild buffalo habitat be placed on the agenda at one of their planned Interagency Bison Management Plan meetings for public deliberation and decision making. The clearly definable objective: allow wild buffalo to roam and occupy Horse Butte without government harassment and harm. My two cents in three minutes time.
The map on the left, courtesy of Buffalo Field Campaign, shows bison herds and migrations inside of and outside of Yellowstone National Park. All the problems with and all the inspiration we have of buffalo herds must take these migrations into account.
Humans have an issue with migration because the variance in movement often comes against boundaries that humans have set up. Many Americans have trouble with the migration of people, especially from Mexico, who are often escaping the economic boundaries placed on their own existence by global trade policies - many of them promoted by American politicians. Boundaries create boundaries, and the consequences of the boundaries often create unexpected movements. In 1872, Congress set aside Yellowstone National Park, with boundaries that have not changed a great deal since then. No one could communicate with the animals those boundaries, but each animal has had its movement impacted by those boundaries and others.
The partners in the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are meeting in Bozeman Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6 and 7 at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices at 1400 S. 19th Ave. from 2 to 5 PM on Aug. 6 and 8:30 AM to 2 PM on Aug. 7. There are public comment periods at the end of each day - each person gets 2 minutes each.
FWP has posted a tentative agenda online at http://fwp.mt.gov/content/getItem.aspx?id=34611 (pdf). The main point of the meeting is to discuss the U.S. Government Accountability Office report and recommendations (which were extremely critical of the IBMP), consider the last season under the plan (where more wild buffalo were killed than at any time since the 19th century), and consider short-term and long-term adjustments to the plan.
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman has called for partners in the IBMP to pull out of the plan and end the hazing and slaughter of wild buffalo while simultaneously increasing habitat for buffalo into Montana. For our complete mission, please see http://buffaloallies.org/node/22.
editor's introduction: Julie Lehman has written a provocative essay that could raise a challenge not only to friends of the livestock industry but also to wildlife advocates as well. She argues that we should take down some of the abstract barriers that have us see buffalo and cows as fundamentally different kinds of beings.
And once we start murdering buffalo in order to protect the ranchers' rights to cows whose selfhood has been utterly devalued, we begin to see that rather than being enemies, the cow and the buffalo have the solidarity of being pawns in a system which doesn't value either of them, except as property, or as obstacles to the maximizing of property.
I wrote the following letter to McKee in response.
I am writing on behalf of myself and not the group I am a member of - Buffalo Allies of Bozeman - regarding your article today that appeared in some newspapers on the brucellosis issue as it relates to corriente roping cattle. Though I am writing for myself alone, I am quoted in the press release that we sent out, and I helped edit and distribute the release.