Friday, May 30, 2008

Yellowstone, Day 7: Hippies, politicians and cows, oh my

hippie girls in hippie skirts
hoola-hooping in the dirt
beaver hats and wool slippers
but sadly no time to flirt

Today we visited the ranch of the Buffalo Field Campaign, an organization that raises awareness of the bison brucellosis issue and documents the actions of the government on buffalo outside the park. The ranch was pretty cool. It is their base of operations, houses all of the volunteers, and is pretty much a hippie commune. Volunteers get paid room and board, which means bunks and communal meals. The lady we talked to said that they take volunteers all year round, too. I think I know where I'm spending a summer. :)

ranchers cry wolf
cry rampant disease
politicians are crooks
for lobbyists, appease

majestic beasts cry for release
habitat too small for 12 months of peace
they need refuge from deep snow to browse
but they're slaughtered by thousands for private cows

and your land and mine
is being nickel'd and dimed
undemocratically sold
for a motive so cold

Despite how cool the ranch today was, my enthusiasm is dampened by the reasons for its existence. The bison brucellosis issue is an ugly one. As impressive and majestic as the Yellowstone bison are, they are being slaughtered by two-faced ranchers and politicians who cry wolf about a nearly harmless disease, never admitting that the real issue is one over land. And it's not just private land; it's land owned by you and me, by every citizen of this country. Bison are being killed to protect the use of public property to fill the pockets of private ranchers.

In the office of the BFC, lined with bumper stickers of all shapes and causes, one quote strikes me deep:

"A true patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."
- Edward Abbey

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