Happy 4th of July! May freedom survive and flourish around the world…
We’re back from the Western Bison Association summer board meeting. Our good friend Jim Lawson hosted the event at his marvelous J Bar S Bison Ranch outside of Ukiah, California. If you’re from the area, he’s east on Highway 20, about 14 miles from town. You’ll see the ranch with its beautiful herd of buffalo on the south side of the road. J Bar S has a delightful store where they sell completely natural, healthy, bison meat, tee-shirts, books, and several other items.
We conducted the Board Meeting on Jim’s patio overlooking a lake, high on the mountainside. Now, for us, this is a hard work. We had to stare out across the lake at the peaceful oak-covered hills, while trying to pay attention to the Board Meeting. Kathy managed for the most part. Mike, however, was fixed on sunlit infinity for the majority of the meeting.
The main topic of discussion dealt with the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project. Both have promised to sue the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to list Plains Bison as threatened under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Doing so will, simply, destroy the North American bison industry and, in our opinion, result in a second form of extinction for the American buffalo.
Why? Because buffalo farmers and ranchers will no longer be able to sell their buffalo, or buffalo products, which means the buffalo herds in America will drop from around 450,000 to around 20,000. Worse, bison now alive in North America will fall into a wierd legal limbo. There are people who believe that any buffalo with a single beef gene should be relabeled as a “beef hybrid.” We even found one comment on the internet that openly declared that any buffalo with a beef gene should be exterminated.
It’s ridiculous, of course. While only about 4% of the buffalo in America have been DNA tested, here at Red Canyon Ranch we’ve tested our animals for years, looking for “beef” genes, and haven’t found any. So we now face two problems: (1) If the propsed lawsuit succeeds, buffalo without beef genes may fall under both the letter and intent of the Endangered Species Act, and ranches across the United States will be prohibited from selling them, which means they will go bankrupt. (2) Buffalo with a single beef gene may be relabeled as “beef” and not allowed to be sold as buffalo.
Remember when having one drop of African blood made a person black, and assured that he/she was denied even the right to citizenship in this country? In Germany during World War II, a single Jewish ancestor meant you got a yellow star to wear and a free train ride, one way, to an undisclosed location.
It means the same thing for buffalo.
We believe the very survival of this beautiful intelligent species is at stake. Fortunately, the Western Bison Association isn’t going to let this happen without a fight. At the Board Meeting, the WBA set up a legal fund to support efforts to keep buffalo off the Endangered Species list.
The utopian concept of ”genetic purity” and the establishment of an Aryan race–or “Aryan” species–has ugly historical baggage. So, what is the Center for Biological Diversity’s true agenda in trying to get bison listed as threatened or endangered? We must all wait to see the actual lawsuit before we know the answer to that question.
But many property owners in the western United States are worried that this is a covert “land grab.” According to the letter of the law of the Endangered Species Act, if a listed animal wanders onto private land the federal government may take over management of that land and administer it to protect the habitat for the endangered species. The government may also use it’s eminent domain powers to confiscate that land.
It’s a “government taking” without compensation.
For those who want more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening.
Michael and Kathleen