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TN WILDLIFE FEDERATION - reply

Michael Butler, TWF
TnDeer Old Timer
4 Point

To members of the forum(s),

On November 5, 2006, as part of an ongoing discussion about the reintroduction of elk in Tennessee, I posted some of my opinions on the subject. I now understand that one or more individuals interpreted my comments as reckless and malicious attacks on captive cervid herds and on them personally. I respectfully, but strongly, disagree, and I would like to take this opportunity to briefly set the record straight.

As everyone knows, I and the TWF have a strong interest in completing the elk reintroduction program in Tennessee without increasing the risks of CWD, TB, or any other wildlife disease in our or any other state. I currently believe the Elk Island herd to be the safest and best source of elk for Tennessee introduction. This is not to say that captive herds (whether owned by research facilities, state and federal wildlife agencies, private farmers, etc.) can not also be good sources of elk. It is simply my opinion that the Elk Island herd is the best. It is my opinion that if the Elk Island herd is deemed unsafe for Tennessee introduction, then we need to think critically about whether any herd is safe for Tennessee introduction.

When we discuss these and other issues of public interest, we must always remind ourselves of the importance of public discourse on matters affecting the public interest. My post was an honest attempt to exchange information of significant public and political interest in a rapidly moving and controversial area. My post was not an attempt to disparage any particular individual or industry, and it should not be interpreted as such.

One of the desired outcomes of public discourse is the possibility that minds will be changed. I and the TWF are always open to receiving information from reputable sources that can educate us on any issue, including the elk reintroduction project and protection of Tennessee's native herds. We always welcome constructive comments.

Sincerely,

Michael Butler
Executive Director
Tennessee Wildlife Federation

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Autry
4 Point

Below is part of the post made by Mr. Butler on tndeer:

"The vector for CWD is captive deer and elk herds. TWRA and others have demonstrated the safety of the Elk Island herd to the point of almost being ridiculous.

IF THE Department of Ag. won't approve impotation from Elk Island, then they won't approve it from anywhere else because no other herd has even been remotely monitored like the Elk Island population.

If we are prevented from bringing in elk and finishing the project, because of CWD fears, then we should probably consider a complete ban on ranching of elk and deer in Tennessee since they are the only known vector for transmission of CWD in the eastern US.

Deer ranching in Wisconsin is why they have the problem they have."

You will find the rest of Mr. Butler's post at the bottom in it's entirety.

This post of Mr. Butler's has damaged the cervid industry in reputation and in lost sales.

Mr. Butler states in his post that: "The vector for CWD is captive deer and elk herds."

Captive herds are not the only vector for CWD because it has been well documented that State Wildlife Agencies and Research Facilities controlled by State Wildlife Agencies were the first vector for CWD and these State Wildlife Agencies spread CWD to other research facilities, spread CWD to Zoos, spread CWD in the wild by releasing CWD exposed and infected animals back into the wild and spread CWD to cervid farmers when they traded pure elk to farmers for their elk hybrids. Mr. Butler's statement implies that the captive deer and elk herds are the only vector for CWD when in fact more CWD has been spread by State Wildlife Agencies and their Research Facilities than all of the cervid farmers put together. Cervid Farmers are the victim of this disease and not the cause of it.

Mr. Butler states in his post that: "If we are prevented from bringing in elk and finishing the project, because of CWD fears, then we should probably consider a complete ban on ranching of elk and deer in Tennessee since they are the only known vector for transmission of CWD in the eastern US."

Mr. Butler's post states that elk and deer ranchers in Tennessee are the only known vector for the transmission of CWD in the eastern U.S. and this is a complete lie. No TN elk or deer rancher has ever been connected to CWD in any way. This is a very damaging statement and has resulted in the loss of sales for cervid ranchers. Mr. Butler made this statement representing TWF as Michael Butler, TWF mabutler@tnwf.org 16 Pointer Member # 358 so according to legal consul Mr. Butler and TWF are both liable for damages caused by Mr. Butler since he was representing TWF.

Mr. Butler states in his post that: "Deer ranching in Wisconsin is why they have the problem they have."

While there have been some cervid farmers show up with CWD, most of the CWD found in WI has been in wild deer. No one has been able to prove how CWD found it's way to Wisconsin so Mr. Butler's post may have damaged WI cervid farmers as well. If this situation keeps dragging on being aired on the Internet, I feel sure that some of those WI cervid farmers will realize that they have been damaged from Mr. Butler's post on tndeer.

*************************************************************************

Michael Butler, TWF mabutler@tnwf.org
16 Pointer
Member # 358

posted 11-05-2006 12:27 PM
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Just for those who are interested.

The elk we have introduced into Tennessee from Elk Island are probably the most disease monitored population of elk in north America.

The population is behind a large fence, but it is still a wild population. The area they live in is quite large.

The number of animals available this year is around 250 - and if we can get these animals then we will have accomplished our goals.

The vector for CWD is captive deer and elk herds. TWRA and others have demonstrated the safety of the Elk Island herd to the point of almost being ridiculous.

IF THE Department of Ag. won't approve impotation from Elk Island, then they won't approve it from anywhere else because no other herd has even been remotely monitored like the Elk Island population.

If we are prevented from bringing in elk and finishing the project, because of CWD fears, then we should probably consider a complete ban on ranching of elk and deer in Tennessee since they are the only known vector for transmission of CWD in the eastern US.

Deer ranching in Wisconsin is why they have the problem they have.

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=104754&ntpid=4

MAB

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sgra2
Spike

Mr. Butler,
I believe you left a sentence out of your post. I will let you think about it a while, then maybe you will realize what I am referring to.

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Autry
4 Point

Mr. Butler,

What is your excuse for claiming that TN deer and elk ranchers were the cause of the spread of CWD to the Eastern United States? That is a lie, a lie that has damaged the cervid industry in TN.

No TN deer or elk rancher has ever been connected to CWD in any way!

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Autry
4 Point

Mr. Michael A. Butler
Executive Director of TN Wildlife Federation (TWF),

How do you think this situation will affect future donations to TWF?

How do you think this situation will affect TWF future memberships?

Do you think that potential new TWF members or potential TWF donators will be less likely to share their money with TWF for fear that their money could be used to pay for damages caused by this situation instead of being used for TWF programs?

How do you think this situation will affect Legislators decisions when TWF is trying to influence future Senate and House bills?

How do you think this situation will affect TWF Friends, Organizations, Corporations and Agencies?

When you realized that you were not going to get your way in regard to importing unsafe risky elk that did not meet the U.S. or TN rules and regulations for safe importation in regard to disease issues, what did you think that you and TWF had to gain by making a public untruthful statement that TN Elk and Deer Ranchers where the cause of CWD being spread to the eastern U.S.?

Since you are the Executive Director of the TN Wildlife Federation and since you represented yourself as such in your damaging statement, who do you feel should pay for the damages caused by your public untruthful statement?....You?....TWF?....TWF BOD?....You,TWF, and TWF BOD?

What do you think would be a reasonable solution to this situation?

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sgra2
Spike

Butler: On November 5, 2006, as part of an ongoing discussion about the reintroduction of elk in Tennessee, I posted some of my opinions on the subject. I now understand that one or more individuals interpreted my comments as reckless and malicious attacks on captive cervid herds and on them personally. I respectfully, but strongly, disagree, and I would like to take this opportunity to briefly set the record straight.

Butler: “The elk we have introduced into Tennessee from Elk Island are probably the most disease monitored population of elk in north America”.

SGRA Response: This is a flat-out misrepresentation of the facts. The EINP animals did not meet, USDA standards for importation, partly because of lack of whole herd monitoring , nor did they meet TN import requirements, which forced TN to have to issue a waiver from the Ag Dept. to allow them to enter the state. Many US captive herds can, and do meet all of these requirements routinely, therefore your statement is also blatantly false. By the way, this statement was offered as a statement of fact from you, not as your “opinion”.

Butler: As everyone knows, I and the TWF have a strong interest in completing the elk reintroduction program in Tennessee without increasing the risks of CWD, TB, or any other wildlife disease in our or any other state. I currently believe the Elk Island herd to be the safest and best source of elk for Tennessee introduction. This is not to say that captive herds (whether owned by research facilities, state and federal wildlife agencies, private farmers, etc.) can not also be good sources of elk. It is simply my opinion that the Elk Island herd is the best. It is my opinion that if the Elk Island herd is deemed unsafe for Tennessee introduction, then we need to think critically about whether any herd is safe for Tennessee introduction.

Butler: “The vector for CWD is captive deer and elk herds. TWRA and others have demonstrated the safety of the Elk Island herd to the point of almost being ridiculous”.

SGRA Response: This is a falsehood, intentionally intended to damage the credibility of and future, of the game ranching industry. How dare you make a conclusion that the captive deer and elk herds are the vector for anything, without offering scientific proof. The SGRA demands this statement be publicly retracted, and a public apology issued concerning this most dreadful lie.

Butler: One of the desired outcomes of public discourse is the possibility that minds will be changed. I and the TWF are always open to receiving information from reputable sources that can educate us on any issue, including the elk reintroduction project and protection of Tennessee's native herds. We always welcome constructive comments.

Butler: “If the Department of Ag. won't approve importation from Elk Island, then they won't approve it from anywhere else because no other herd has even been remotely monitored like the Elk Island population”.

SGRA Response: For public discourse to be successful, the information disseminated must be accurate. The Ag Dept. had to issue a waiver, which is not now, nor then, remotely close to an approval. This statement of yours, is not an opinion either. It is also untrue, as many captive US herds can and do meet all of the USDA, TN and other state’s requirements, as part of their daily routine of doing business.

Butler: “If we are prevented from bringing in elk and finishing the project, because of CWD fears, then we should probably consider a complete ban on ranching of elk and deer in Tennessee since they are the only known vector for transmission of CWD in the eastern US”.

SGRA Response: This statement is absurd. The elk were prevented from being allowed entry into the US because of they did not meet the required protocols of the USDA, not because of fear. Your statement, is intended to incite unwarranted fear in the eyes and minds general public, towards hard working farmers that happen to raise non-traditional livestock. Shame on you!

Butler: “Deer ranching in Wisconsin is why they have the problem they have”.

SGRA Response: We hope this statement is actually one of your opinions. In retrospect, a few of your comments were true and mostly accurate. In fairness, I have included them.

Butler: ”The population is behind a large fence, but it is still a wild population. The area they live in is quite large”.

“The number of animals available this year is around 250 - and if we can get these animals then we will have accomplished our goals”.

Edited by sgra2 (03-30-2007 06:13 PM)
_________________________
Scott Heinrich

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Autry
4 Point

Let me see if I have this right.

The Executive Director of the TN Wildlife Federation, Michael Butler, post a lie on a public forum stating that TN Elk and Deer Ranchers are the cause of CWD being spread to the eastern U.S. This Lie causes major damage to the Cervid Industry so a complaint is lodged against TWF only to find all of the TWF Board of Directors hiding their contact information trying to avoid the problem. Finally Monty Halcomb, a TWF Director, comes out of hiding long enough to demand that the complaint and all of the evidence be sent to Michael Butler. After Michael Butler has time to examine the evidence against him, the post on tndeer, with the evidence against Michael Butler, mysteriously disappears. Michael Butler then claims that he disagrees with the complaint and dismisses the complaint against himself.

Does anyone, besides me, see a problem with how TWF handles a complaint?

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Joined: 10/15/2006
Posts: 127
TN WILDLIFE FEDERATION - reply

To All TN Wildlife Federation Friends and Supporters,

This letter is being sent to you to let you know that your contact information is listed on Tennessee Wildlife Federation's (TWF) web-site http://www.tnwf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=47 as a friend or supporter of TWF. Your support for the TWF may not be in your best interest due to the direction that the TWF has taken in the past few years.
For at least the past five years, Michael A. Butler, Executive Director of the TWF, has directed a campaign to put hard working American Ranchers and Farmers out of business in order to promote his own personal interest and the personal interest of several Board of Directors (BOD) for the TWF. Mr. Butler has made many untruthful statements on a public web-site, http://www.tndeer.com. In one of his untruthful post, Mr. Butler states that TN Ranchers and Farmers are the reason that a TSE disease has spread to the eastern United States. No TN Rancher or Farmer has ever been connected to this TSE disease in any way.
While Mr. Butler has been busy bashing and blaming Ranchers and Farmers for the spread of disease, he has also been very busy trying to promote the importation of unsafe and risky elk, for a restoration project, from two separate herds that do not meet safe import rules and regulations as specified by State and Federal law. Mr. Butler made every possible attempt to convince the public that the elk in question were the safest most tested herds in the Country but the fact is that neither of these elk herds meet State or Federal rules and regulations for safe importation in regard to disease issues. The Authorities have stopped the interstate movement of both of these elk herds, one from Elk Island National Park (EINP) in Alberta Canada and the other one from Land Between the Lakes (LBL) in Kentucky.
Mr. Butler seems to think that the State and Federal Laws should not apply to him or the Associations that he represents and promotes and he is very disturbed that his attempt to circumvent the law was a failure.
Mr. Butler's untruthful statements, bashing Ranchers and Farmers, caused major damage to their businesses in the form of lost sales and reputation so an attempt to file a complaint was made with the TWF only to find the TWF BOD uncooperative and hiding their contact information. Finally, Mr. Monty Halcomb, a TWF Director, come out of hiding long enough to demand that the complaint and evidence be sent to Mr. Butler. Mr. Halcomb refused to furnish an email address or any other contact information for any of the TWF BOD and threatened to completely ignore our complaint and evidence unless we did as he demanded by sending everything to Mr. Butler, the one that had caused the damage with his untruthful statements. Once Mr. Butler had received the complaint and evidence and after having time to review everything that had been sent to him, his post on the public web-stite mysteriously disappeared and he then disagreed with our complaint and dismissed the complaint against himself. We have copies of his post, before it was deleted, and we also have individuals willing to testify that Mr. Butler's post did exist.
Because of the amount of damage caused by Mr. Butler's untruthful statements about the Farmers and Ranchers and because of the TWF BOD unwillingness to understand and accept the responsibility for the damage caused by their Executive Director Michael Butler, the Ranchers and Farmers will, in the near future, proceed with litigation to stop Mr. Butler and the TWF's attacks on their agricultural businesses. Since this damage involves the Farmers and Ranchers reputation and also involves the loss of sales, it is not yet known the exact amount of damage caused by the TWF but estimates run anywhere from one million to ten million dollars.
If TWF and it's BOD are not sufficiently insured for this amount of damage in this case, the settlement could result in donated money, now held by TWF for some of the TWF programs, being used to cover the damages in this settlement.
We realize that you may have been unaware of this situation while supporting TWF and we regret the problem that this may present to you after having supported TWF but in all fairness to you, we felt that you should be made aware of this situation.
Below you will find supporting evidence that was made reference to in the above letter. If you have any questions, regarding this issue, please feel free to contact me.
Sincerely,
David L. Autry
U.S. Cervid Industry Advisor

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