the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
Me Once, Shame on You - Fool Me Twice...
- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks lost control of bison as
wildlife because of the assumption that bison were the brucellosis
diseased vermin that the special interest ag/livestock industries
painted them to be, a threat to their livestock industry and responsible
for cattle infections. They stated that diseased bison could not
be allowed out of the Yellowstone National Park because they would
infect the Montana cattle, thereby jeopardizing Montana's Brucellosis
Class Free status. So the Department of Livestock got legislative
control of the wild bison through 81-2-120.
As I said, it was an assumption. They fooled us once.
The science of genetics has proved
there has not been a single case of wild bison to cattle transmission
- ever. Not just in Montana, but in the entire GYA, even
when cattle have been run with bison in Wyoming for about 50 years.
Yet the Department of Livestock, knowing this, still retains legislative
control over bison entering Montana. Bison are either hazed back
to the Park, captured for studies, or killed. As a result, we
have no wild bison on public lands in Montana.
Since 2007, the DOL have been targeting
elk as the source of the cattle infections, a campaign to go after
another of our wildlife exposed to the European livestock disease
brucellosis by the early Montana settlers. Again, they have been
trying to get legislative control over our elk, as they did the
bison, and again, we hear them beat the drums that the elk are
diseased vermin their livestock need to be protected from.
So where are the tests showing the
elk are the sources of the cattle infections?
Did FWP ever conduct an independent
study of the cattle infections in Montana from 2007 to present,
to see if it was in fact the elk causing the infections? No.
So once again, we are taking the word
of the DOL, which also advocates the APHIS agenda of brucellosis
eradication in all wildlife? A state agency which knows the bison
have not been the transmission source to cattle and yet has never
admitted this to the public and had 81-2-120 repealed? An agency
who knew that the 2007 brucellosis infected Corriente cow had
aborted in Dec. 2005 and again in 2006, with no fetal testing,
was then moved from the Morgan ranch in Bridger, MT, to a sale
barn in Baker, MT. This diseased Corriente cow, which had aborted
twice, unethically was sold in a mixed lot to TransOva Genetics
in Sioux City, Iowa. Ironically this Corriente cow that had aborted
at least twice before was purchased to be a recipient for embryo
transplants. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection was signed
BEFORE the brucellosis test results came back and the infected
cow was shipped out of state. Having purchased livestock in the
past, I would sure be furious at having a diseased cow passed
off on me. The whole shipped herd had to be depopulated in Iowa.
The DOL has known this and yet none of this information was in
the papers or presented to the public, but elk were implicated.
Was it elk's fault that a diseased
cow was unethically passed off to other buyers jeopardizing other
Was it elk's fault that a MT vet signed off on a Certificate of
Veterinary Inspection before the brucellosis test results came
in jeopardizing other herds? No.
Was it elk's fault that a diseased cow was shipped across state
lines jeopardizing other states herds? No.
So here's the money
question that FWP, the Public Trust stewards of our wildlife,
should have been asking when the target started appearing on the
elk: Are elk the source of all the brucellosis cattle infections
More on the Montana brucellosis cattle infections coming soon.
Elk Brucellosis Lawsuit
Update: There have been rumors that the Skyline
Sportsmen and Anaconda Sportsmens Associations lawsuit against
FWP & the FWP Commission concerning Elk Management in
Areas with Brucellosis was dropped or settled. The Skyline lawsuit
has not been dropped, nor has it been settled. The FWP has until
the 18th of June to answer the lawsuit, negotiate for resolution.
This lawsuit, contrary to the misunderstandings
out there, involves not just the Paradise Valley modifications,
nor the Montana Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis program,
but the bigger picture of the need for the Environmental Review
- a MEPA, required by FWP and the FWP Commission, before managing
elk for brucellosis and transmission to Montana's cattle. What
is currently the law is "Management of viable elk populations
based on habitat acreage". To deviate from this requires
This also brings up the question: Has
FWP ever conducted an independent study of whether or not the
elk are actually the source of the Montana cattle infections?
They have not. They just took the word of the Department of Livestock
that elk were responsible, but my research into this matter has
been showing that is not the case for the majority of the handful
of infections that have occurred since 2007. This is not scientific
wildlife management. Hence the need for this lawsuit against FWP
and the FWP Commission.
The Skyline/Anaconda sportsmen are
standing up for the Public Trust Doctrine, for scientific wildlife
management, one of the principles of the North American Model
of Wildlife Conservation. They are personally putting their money
where there values are. If you would like to contribute to the
Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund, which they have already
been paying for, we would greatly appreciate it.
Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund
PO Box 173, Butte, MT 59701
Hunt Roster - ELK
On a connecting issue, MT FWP is advertising that the Hunt
Roster is open. While the Hunt Roster has been used for Game
Damage and Management Seasons, which are legal, they have included
it for elk brucellosis lethal removals. In the 2013 season, though
the Hunt Roster was supposed to be used for the lethal removals
that took place that season, none has been provided from requests.
Then I found out the whole program was operating outside of the
law and needed a MEPA anyway. So this year they are advertising,
"Hunters from the roster may also be used to disperse elk
in some areas of southwestern Montana where there is risk of brucellosis
transmission between elk and livestock. An elk management removal
is a management response to the risk of brucellosis transmission
between elk and livestock. These small scale removals reduce commingling
events between elk and livestock using a very limited number of
hunters and harvest to adjust elk distribution in a localized
area. These removals may take place throughout the winter and
early spring and are applied only in those areas near Yellowstone
National Park with brucellosis prevalence. Elk management removals
are not used to control elk population size. Before the management
removal option can be used, it needs to be adopted by the Fish
& Wildlife Commission in a 2015 annual work plan."
Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area,
which gives MT DOL and APHIS increased jurisdiction. DOL
never did a MEPA before the creation of the DSA. DSA
DOL Comment Period on DSA (Designated Surveillance Area) Boundary
Adjustment Opens, The public comment period closes July 12.
Public comment will be accepted at the meeting, or can be submitted
via email at MDOLcomments@mt.gov
or via US postal mail at Christian Mackay, 301 N. Roberts St.,
Room 308, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001.
Public Meeting set for July 2. The
department will host a public meeting at 10 a.m. on July 2 at
Headwaters Livestock Auction in Three Forks to discuss the proposal.
isn’t afraid of its roaming bison by
"For the next many weeks until early autumn, 300 steers will
fatten up while sharing nearby grasslands with hundreds of public
bison and elk known to carry brucellosis.
No personnel from either the Wyoming departments of Livestock
or Game and Fish are aggressively hazing bison and elk away from
Pinto cattle, preemptively killing buffalo and wapiti or making
outspoken declarations about disease risk, suggesting that Wyoming
might lose its coveted brucellosis-free status."
MT Sportsmen's Dollars
Thrown Away -
entities in the running to get Yellowstone bison
How much of our FWP sportsmens dollars have been used for wild
bison that will be turned over to Tribal Nations, other states,
private entities or zoo's? Yet we have no wild bison on public
lands in Montana for the public and the hunting
of wild bison in Montana is under the jurisdiction of the DOL
MT St. Vet.
the president can do for conservation by former
DOI Secretary Bruce Babbit
"When a racist rancher in Nevada and his armed supporters
can command headlines by claiming to own and control publicly
owned lands, perhaps it's time to remind Westerners about the
history of the nation's public-land heritage.
Recall that it is we, the American
people, who own the public lands that make up so much of our Western
states. These great open spaces are the birthright of all of us,
not just the residents of Nevada or Arizona or other Western states.
The question of ownership of the public lands was settled by the
founding fathers, in favor of you and me, by the Maryland compromise
reached in 1781, and carried forward in the property clause of
Article IV in the United States Constitution."
Monuments: Conservation of America's Extraordinary Landscapes
by Rick Reese
"If the 'local support' that Sec. Jewell and Sen. Tester
want for any new National Monuments had been required for the
creation of National Monuments in the past, Americans visiting
the valley of Jackson Hole today would likely see wall to wall
condos, honkytonks and worse . Likewise, four of the five now-cherished
National Parks in Rep. Bishop's home state may never have happened.
Some local support is helpful, but
what's really needed for the conservation of America's extraordinary
landscapes today is foresight and political leadership. Babbitt
has it right. Does Barack Obama?"
EMWH would like to thank Don Bachman and
Tim Crawford of the C3 Ranches for their contributions. They are
very much appreciated.