Chris Servheen is so full of himself. He wonders why people don't come to meetings. Well, one reason is that he shuts them up or won't let them speak for more than a minute or two, and when they do speak, it's at the end of the day when no one's listening. Often, speakers are ridiculed, as happened at a meeting in Jackson Wyoming a couple of years ago when one woman read a poem about grizzlies and another--a professional musician--sang a song about grizzlies. The contempt from Servheen and his "cohorts in arrogance" was palpable.
Another reason is that the agencies allow half-drunk anti-bear yokels to control meetings and intimate pro-bear people, as happened during the Wyoming G&F Department's "bear occupancy" meetings four years ago. These meetings were on the verge of violence but G&F did nothing to control the situations.
And finally, the science doesn't support the delisting of bears, particularly the science of bear habitat. Doug Peacock is exactly right about habitat. We need significantly more habitat now to support the bears we already have. If the agencies were serious about bear conservation, they'd expand habitat and ensure connectivity among populations. But of course, that's politically incorrect, and the agencies lack the courage to do what's required by science and by law.
The fact of the matter is that the cards are all stacked against bears and bear conservationists. That's why these issues end up in court. It's the only place we can get anything resembling a legitimate hearing. If Chris Servheen wants the lawsuits to end, he needs to find a little humility and a little courage to do the right thing by bears.
What people don't realize is that the livestock industry already has strong control over wildlife agencies, both in Montana and elsewhere in the West, through its historic de facto control over politicians, political institutions, and the political process at the state level. Does anyone doubt that Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks takes its orders from the Stockgrowers and Department of Livestock? It always has. All Barrett's bill would do is simply give DOL a more direct, de jure control over elk as it now has over bison.
Why? The livestock oligarchy is feeling pressure from the diversification of Western society, new people moving to the West who aren't so enamored of cows, cowshit, cowboys, and ranchers and who prefer wildlife--wolves, bears, elk, bison--on the landscape.
In other words, demographic and cultural changes in the West threaten the rancher oligarchy and its illegitimate economic and political privileges in the control of land and land use. Barrett's bill is merely an attempt to bolster the declining power of the rancher oligarchy against loss of power. It has nothing to do with disease.
Wake up people. The so-called brucellosis disease problem in wildlife is actually the brucellosis fraud. The only way to deal with the fraud? Destroy the political power of the livestock industry.
After reading this factually inept, insipidly hagiographic op-ed by Jeff Welsch about happy bison leaving their quarantine prison for Ted Turner's Paradisio on the Yellowstone, I've decided that the term "Greater Yellowstone Sycophancy" better describes what kind of organization GYC truly is.
Through all the courtly albeit odoriferous effluvia Welsch spills upon Turner's feudal beneficence for bestowing upon these forlorn bison a home on the range in otherwise inhospitable Montana, one struggles to find clarity of fact, even a solid base from which to survey the terrain to discover the facts. But once one realizes that the basis for discovering fact is a respect for the truth above the fear of losing one's funding, one can proceed to the facts with clarity.
The basic fact to discover about bison is that the State of Montana--more precisely, Montana's livestock industry, an oligarchy that seeks to (and usually does) run the State as a private estate--is absolutely opposed to wild, free-roaming bison in Montana. The livestock oligarchy will do anything to keep wild bison under control, including domesticating them when slaughter makes the "no wild bison in Montana" policy too obvious.
Now, when Ted Turner gives a "home" to quarantine bison, the most important fact to know is that the deal between Turner and Montana's Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks violates a number of laws and legally binding policies; that is, the deal is plainly illegal. Might the reason for this illegal deal be political? These illegalities range from corruption of the open bid process for quarantine bison to numerous violations of the Montana Environmental Policy Act to violations of Montana's sovereign public trust duty to protect public resources against special interest perfidy--in this case, livestock oligarchy perfidy. Evidence that both FWP and Turner know the deal is illegal can be found in the provision of the contract between Turner and FWP that allows Turner to harvest genetic material from the quarantine bison in case a court overturns the deal and all bison have to be removed from Turner's property. So much for Turner's ostensible benevolence. He gets his pound of profitable bison flesh one way or another.
The next fact to consider is that despite a decade of broken promises from FWP to begin statewide planning for wild bison restoration, and despite five years since the beginning of the quarantine study to secure homes for quarantine bison, FWP has actually done nothing to restore wild bison to Montana. Indeed, FWP has steadfastly refused to do anything because the Department of Livestock won't allow it. Yet, of late FWP is pleading mea culpa and claims that leaving quarantine bison with Turner for five years gives FWP time to do what it's promised--put quarantine bison out on the land as wildlife. Yet, when you read the latest statements from FWP about bison restoration, we are told it will only happen where "socially acceptable." We are back to the basic fact of bison in Montana.
What this means is that in five years, assuming there is no successful legal challenge to the Turner deal to force FWP to follow the law and its promises, quarantine bison will still have no home anywhere in Montana as wild bison. I predict they will instead go to Turner or other landowners as private property, as livestock, permanently. Just as the livestock oligarchy demands.
And I'm sure this enslavement of wild bison will be quite OK with the Greater Yellowstone Sycophancy.
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