Dear friends of the buffalo,
The Montana legislature is hearing SB 144 on Thursday, January 20, at 3 PM in Room 422 of the Capitol building before the Senate Fish and Game Committee.
Please attend and testify at the hearing in support of restoring wild, free ranging buffalo in Montana. If you can't attend the hearing, please call and contact members of the Senate Fish and Game Committee via this number: (406) 444-4800.
SENATE Fish and Game Committee
Chair: John Brenden (R-Scobey)
Vice Chair: Joe Balyeat (R-Bozeman) <email@example.com>
Debby Barrett (R-Dillon) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tom Facey (D-Missoula) <email@example.com>
Steve Gallus (D-Butte) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brad Hamlett (D-Cascade) <email@example.com>
Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Larry Jent (D-Bozeman) <email@example.com>
Jim Shockley (R-Victor)
Art Wittich (R-Bozeman) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To submit testimony, send an email to <email@example.com> Kevin McCue, secretary for the Senate Fish and Game Committee. Address your testimony to Chairman John Brenden, and ask that your comments on SB 144 be shared with committee members and entered into the hearing record.
Senate Fish and Game Committee hearing scheduled on SB 144
WHEN: THURSDAY JANUARY 20 AT 3 PM
WHERE: ROOM 422, Capitol building, Helena, Montana
SB 144 online: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/billhtml/SB0144.htm. John Brenden is the primary sponsor of SB 144 and chairs the Senate Fish and Game Committee. All available information on SB 144: http://laws.leg.mt.gov/laws11/LAW0210W$BSIV.ActionQuery?P_BILL_NO1=144&P_BLTP_BILL_TYP_CD=SB&Z_ACTION=Find.
SB 144 TALKING POINTS
* SB 144 would permit one of the last buffalo populations in the United States to be relocated only onto the National Bison Range, that is, with buffalo known to have cattle ancestry. The descendants of Yellowstone buffalo carry an exceptionally rare and unique genome of the wild species. They represent the one population whose identity as wildlife has not been diminished by cattle genes.
* SB 144 would prohibit buffalo that were captured from Yellowstone, placed in quarantine in the Gardiner basin, and repeatedly tested for brucellosis, from being relocated in Montana as wild, free ranging wildlife.
* The whole purpose and goal of the multimillion dollar U.S. taxpayer funded quarantine study was to relocate buffalo descended from Yellowstone to start new Tribal and public herds.
* Under SB 144, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks "may not allow or authorize any person to allow bison to roam free anywhere in this state."
* There is not one example in Montana of a wild buffalo population freely ranging on the landscape. Montana needs wild buffalo, in a landscape big enough to support wild, free ranging populations, in an expanse of habitats to fulfill their keystone ecological roles in keeping grasslands and all of the species that rely upon buffalo healthy and abundant.
* Buffalo behind a fence in Montana is not a wildlife population, it's another game farm. Wildlife means WILD-LIFE. The state of Montana has a public trust obligation to restore wild buffalo populations in their native habitats, and does not need another fenced, confined herd of buffalo.
To be given a chance to conserve, protect and restore wild populations of this missing keystone species in Montana is a gift, and an opportunity to correct an historic and on-going wrong that has decimated native buffalo in our state.
The wild American buffalo has been missing from Montana's landscape for well over 100 years. It's time for Montanan's to make a generational commitment to conserve, protect and restore wild buffalo in their native habitats for the next 100 years to come.
Thank you for taking action to protect buffalo descended from Yellowstone as a valued wildlife species freely roaming Montana.
Daniel Brister, Executive Director
Buffalo Field Campaign