Kill the Bills: HB 318 and HB 302, Not the Buffalo
A big thank you to all of you who have already taken action. If you haven't, there is still time before today's hearing at 3pm (MST).
Buffalo Field Campaign is appealing to all of our supporters to send messages against HB 318 and HB 302 to kill the bills – not the buffalo – in the Montana Legislature. You can watch the action on both bills in the House Agriculture committee at 3 PM (MST) Tuesday, February 16.
HB 318changes the legal definition of wild buffalo or bison – redefining the wild, migratory Yellowstone bison herds as domestic or feral. Under HB 318, wild buffalo would no longer be recognized as wild, and the wildlife species would – by definition – be extinct in Montana. HB 318 would also stop the reintroduction of wild buffalo because the legal definition precludes the species from ever being recognized as wild.
HB 302 interferes with Montanan’s constitutional right to participate in decisions to reintroduce wild buffalo by giving a board of county commissioners veto authority over the state’s decision. Reintroducing wildlife is the responsibility of wildlife biologists entrusted with ensuring wild American bison, our National Mammal, are protected for future generations.
TAKE ACTION! Please send a message via Montana's web form against HB 318 and HB 302 to all members of the the House Agriculture committee online. Once you are on Montana’s web form, fill in your contact information, then under "Send Message to", select Committees, then (H) Agriculture. Make sure to choose "against." You will need to do this twice, once for each bill. Montana's web form permits messages from anyone in the United States. We apologize for the extra effort folks must take, but your individual messages to Montana legislators will have a much greater impact than a form letter or petition would. Thank you so much for taking these important extra steps to defend the last wild buffalo!
Here are BFC's Talking Points to aid you in your comments:
BFC Talking Points on HB 318: • HB 318 changes the legal definition of wild buffalo or bison in a manner that redefines the wild migratory Yellowstone bison herds as domestic or feral bison. • Under HB 318, no wild buffalo or bison would exist or ever be recognized as wildlife in Montana. • HB 318 disregards the distinction of wild buffalo held in public trust as wildlife, from domestic bison (livestock) owned as private property. • If HB 318 becomes law, wild buffalo – a species of conservation concern – would no longer be recognized as wild, and the wildlife species would – by definition – be extinct in Montana.
BFC Talking Points on HB 302: • Interferes with Montanan’s constitutional right to participate in decisions to reintroduce wild American bison in the state. • Gives a board of county commissioners veto authority over the decision. • There is only one wild population in Montana: the Yellowstone bison herds. The migratory wildlife species is at risk of “global extinction or extirpation in the state.” (Montana Natural Heritage, SOC Report Animal Species of Conservation Concern, PDF). • The legislature already imposes costly, unfunded mandates to thwart the reintroduction of wild American bison. • Montanan’s must speak up to protect our natural heritage and defend our right to participate in decisions reintroducing wild American bison, our National Mammal, in the state.
You can also find BFC’s talking points on HB 318 and HB 302 on our Buffalo Bill Tracker page, though our web site has been up and down lately.