Ralph/Robert – OK, is the barter system a common practice in the cattle ranching west? Next, to keep the bison within the “public trust” why would the state not use the Robb/Ledford WMA tend the bison themselves and clearly have all offspring in the “public trust”? Does the barter with Turner allow them to save the bison at no out of pocket cost?
1) Barter is not the word I would use to describe any agreement between Montana FWP and Ted Turner on the quarantine bison. I would use the words “politics” and “economic self interest” instead.
2) The State of Montana, and the FWP in particular, are not at all interested in the public trust and in promoting or managing wild, free-roaming bison in Montana at any time or any place. Robb-Ledford is not set up for intensive management (fencing, corrals, handling equipment) and such infrastructure would have to be built and paid for from scratch out of the FWP budget.
3) This makes no sense at all. This isn’t a barter agreement, and bison aren’t being “saved” in any meaningful way. Rather, it’s the first round of the eventual privatization, commercialization, and domestication of “surplus” Yellowstone bison.
The rationale for the bison quarantine facility is that producing “disease-free” bison is necessary to support various large scale proposals for the restoration of wild, free-roaming bison on the Great Plains and elsewhere in the American West. From the very beginning, the agencies in charge of quarantine have said that their goal is to put these bison on public/tribal lands under public/tribal control in furtherance of national restoration.
Consequently, the agencies, in various legal documents (environmental assessments and decision notices issued under the Montana Environmental Policy Act, requests for proposals/bids), have unequivocally established legally enforceable criteria for disposition of quarantine bison that prohibit the privatization and commercialization of these bison and their offspring. It is a well established principle of law that government agencies have to follow their own rules and decisions.
Another violation of law is that the FWP has rewritten the original bid, which included a requirement for successful bidders to sign an agreement with FWP not to privatize or commercialize the quarantine bison and their offspring, to accommodate Turner’s proposal.
Robert – thanks for your reply. Your response to #3 I find odd. If a state agency does not have or want to spend the money tending to the bison and they want to keep from sending them to slaughter then the only non monetary means to not send them to slaughter would be to trade (I guess a better word than barter) with Turner future offspring for the tending. Next, how do you know that this is the first round of privitization?