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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Newspaper article misrepresents Buffalo Allies position on brucellosis and bison management

    Appearing in today's Missoulian and Billings Gazette, Lee Newspapers reporter Jennifer McKee misrepresented the press release of Buffalo Allies of Bozeman.

    I wrote the following letter to McKee in response.

    Ms. McKee,

    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.

    I believe there is a severe misrepresentation of what's said in the release, and I hope to set the record straight - hoping that the papers will correct the mistake or at the very least that you will give written acknowledgment of the error.

    You write about Bozeman Allies of Buffalo:

    "Another wildlife group, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, put out a statement calling for Gov. Brian Schweitzer to pull out of the current brucellosis management plan because Corriente, not bison, were behind the outbreak."

    In fact, this is wrong on two counts.

    What we say in our press release regarding corriente is the following:

    “The current rhetoric from state officials refuses to consider that diseased Mexican Corriente roping cattle may have been the source of the outbreak in Pray. Let’s stop pouring tax dollars into a failed plan, where we spend more than what Montana’s economy will suffer for losing its brucellosis-free status.”

    First of all, we don't say that corriente were involved; we say that they may have been the source of the outbreak. Secondly, and more importantly, we never say anywhere in the release that Schweitzer should pull out of the management plan because of corriente, especially since we don't identify corriente as the cause. What we say here and elsewhere in the press release is that bison weren't involved since they have not been in the Paradise Valley near that ranch in a long time, that the continued slaughter and hazing of bison did not prevent brucellosis, and that the IBMP has cost more over time to implement than it will cost Montana for losing its class free status (especially absurd given that buffalo were certainly not the cause - and note that we do not identify the cause and merely tangentially suggest what might have been the cause).

    So, we never say that corrientes "were behind the outbreak"; we never call on Schweitzer to pull out of the plan "because Corriente" were behind it. All that's correct is that we have called on Schweitzer to pull out of the plan and that we believe it's not possible that bison were behind the outbreak.

    As a new grassroots group in Bozeman, this is the first mention of our relatively new group in the newspapers that this appeared in; it's not helpful to our group to have our press release and therefore our group misrepresented. I ask again that you would correct this for us.

    Thank you for your research on corrientes; I'm not sure that what you've written proves definitively that the cattle was not involved; however, I did find the piece informative. If anything, it only deepens the mystery of the source. However, no matter what, what's been happening with cattle and brucellosis in Montana only further is exposing the absurdities of the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

    Most Sincerely,
    Jim Macdonald

    Update: McKee wrote me back saying that she believes her report is "essentially accurate" but failing to elucidate what is essentially accurate. about it.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Press Release: Buffalo Allies of Bozeman Calls upon Gov. Schweitzer to Withdraw from Interagency Bison Management Plan

    I plan on writing an essay pretty soon - for now, activism is taking a lot of my time. Here is another press release that our group has worked on. I try to avoid being quoted in these things, but here I am quoted this time.


    Contact: Chris Klatt
    June 12, 2008

    Buffalo Allies of Bozeman Calls upon Gov. Schweitzer to Withdraw from Interagency Bison Management Plan
    Brucellosis outbreak where there are no bison shows that IBMP is not working for buffalo or for cows.

    (Bozeman, Mont.) – The grassroots citizens group Buffalo Allies of Bozeman responded to the Monday announcement of brucellosis in a cattle herd in the Paradise Valley with a challenge to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to withdraw from the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).

    According to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the IBMP “lacks accountability and transparency.” The IBMP has also been criticized by Gov. Schweitzer. Despite criticism, federal and state government agencies acted under the IBMP to sanction the slaughter of over 1,600 wild bison this past winter under the guise of preventing the spread of disease to cattle. However, the largest slaughter of buffalo since the 19th century did not prevent cattle in Greater Yellowstone from being afflicted. “There has never been transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle in the wild, and it is clear that no link can be made between the current outbreak in Pray and Yellowstone’s buffalo herds, which haven’t been that far north in the Paradise Valley since they were extirpated for livestock interests. It’s time to scrap the useless IBMP, which treats buffalo as diseased, domesticated animals instead of as wildlife,” said Buffalo Allies member Jim Macdonald.

    Buffalo Allies of Bozeman contends that there is no reason bison should be considered “a species requiring disease control,” as they are currently classified under Montana law. The group supports a legislative bill proposed by the Gallatin Wildlife Association, which has in part called for repealing Montana law 81-2-120, where bison are managed by the Department of Livestock as a disease issue.

    “These American icons are the only animals that cross Yellowstone National Park’s boundary with a death sentence,” said Macdonald. “The current rhetoric from state officials refuses to consider that diseased Mexican Corriente roping cattle may have been the source of the outbreak in Pray. Let’s stop pouring tax dollars into a failed plan, where we spend more than what Montana’s economy will suffer for losing its brucellosis-free status.”

    The grassroots group will be hosting a forum at the Bozeman Public Library on Monday, June 30, at 6:30 PM with State Representative Mike Phillips. This forum will introduce ways in which Bozeman residents can take action to stop the mistreatment of buffalo. In addition to these events, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman will be hosting a community potluck in Beall Park on Sunday, June 29, at 7 PM.

    Buffalo Allies of Bozeman meets every Wednesday at 7 PM at Montana State University’s Strand Union Building. For more information, please visit: