Thursday, March 27, 2014

The 'Last Best Dead Place'?

While Montana has a rich tradition of abundant wild places and wildlife, this has sadly not been true for wild bison.

As bison enter the state of Montana, they fall under the lethal jurisdiction of the Department of Livestock, due to Montana Law 81-2-120, which needs to be repealed. 

There has never been a documented case of naturally occurring wild bison to cattle transmission of brucellosis, ever. Even when cattle were run next to bison for nearly 50 years now, in Jackson Hole, WY. Cattle ranchers there even wrote a letter to then Pres. Clinton, protesting APHIS trying to get control over the wildlife and the ramifications it would have on the bison and elk.

Now that APHIS and DOL know that it has actually been the elk responsible for some of the infections in MT (as well as the other GYA states of WY and ID), APHIS and MT DOL are targeting the elk, but not letting loose of their grasp of the bison. Because, this is not really about the small transmission risk of brucellosis. This is really about grass and how to market those grass fed cattle.Removing the wildlife competing ungulates from the landscape, even off of public lands where they have the priority, is greed, plain and simple. Then they have to sell the public and international buyers why they should buy this beef - "Ours is Brucellosis Class Free."

Science has been dismissed in these matters, instead politics, greedy, special interest politics at that, have instead ruled our government and compromised our wildlife management agency: Fish, Wildlife & Parks, through our governor, via APHIS/DOL with the brucellosis eradication agenda.

We need to hold our government accountable to the public, hold them accountable to the science and get those 'No Science Monkeys' out of our government.

Kathryn QannaYahu

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Out of the mouths of MT Board of Livestock & APHIS...

You might be surprised how much wildlife is discussed and dealt with at a Montana Board of Livestock meeting. I certainly was.

The summer of 2013 I began attending BOL meetings, due to a bison environmental assessment discussion. At that time, they were surprised when I came in, as a member of the public, stating they had not had the public at meetings before. I quickly realized there was a hell of a lot being discussed about our wildlife there, determined to attend regularly. I also bought a digital recorder that I take with me everywhere, so that I can extend the ability of the public awareness and involvement in our Public Trust issues.

This last meeting was a perfect example of why the public, concerned with Montana's wildlife and habitat, needs to keep an eye out on the Department of Livestock. The following is the account of the BOL meeting on March 18, 2013, in Helena, MT.

In my opinion, the most important aspect of this meeting was when BOL John Scully grilled APHIS Veterinary Services, Dr. Tom Linfield about numerous documents which I researched this last spring and summer, compiled on the APHIS Brucellosis Eradication Agenda Page. Scully asked if they were still current and active, which Dr. Linfield replies that they are. These documents -  Code of Federal Regulations, Interim Rule, APHIS Strategic Plan 2010-2015 and their Concept Paper 2009, all state the goals of APHIS to eradicate brucellosis, not just from livestock in the US, but also from all wildlife reservoirs, especially their target of the GYA. 

This APHIS brucellosis eradication is what is driving the MT DOL actions against the bison and now the elk, in MT. The APHIS strategy, through the Brucellosis Class Free Status, forced the State to agree to a Brucellosis Management Plan. This is how they got control of our Fish, Wildlife & Parks concerning elk, bison and the peripheral predator issues.

FWP Region 3 Supervisor Pat Flowers remarked about the "unholy marriage" forced on FWP with the DOL. DOL's Executive Director Christian MacKay laughed and said that he preferred to call it a "shotgun wedding." Well, when you are not the agency with the gun to your head, forcing you to manage wildlife like diseased livestock, I suppose that you can laugh about it.  APHIS is the one wielding the shotgun here, forcing the 3 GYA states to turn over their wildlife agencies to APHIS and state departments of livestock, who are more than willing to "marry" the wildlife agencies to gain access to what they want.

Hopefully, the public will wake up to the governor's marrying of these two agencies and get this damn "unholy marriage" annulled. Our Fish, Wildlife & Parks deserves to be managed by scientific wildlife management, not livestock management and politics.

So if you can show just cause why these two should not be wed, for Montana's sake, speak now or experience the hostile takeover by the APHIS/DOL as in the cattle wars of days gone by!

Kathryn QannaYahu