Animal Writes
1 March 2000 Issue
Yellowstone Bison Update

by [email protected] 

Last Thursday night the A & E network aired a program on the continued slaughter of the bison of Yellowstone National Park by the state of Montana. I was very pleased to see this national exposure to a problem which has bothered me for years. The state officials and the cattlemen who are responsible for killing thousands of bison over the last decade gave their own excuses for their actions, and it was obvious to the viewer that the motivation was greed. The cattlemen of Montana, who pay below market value to graze their cattle on federal land surrounding Yellowstone want to view the bison as pests which could possibly pass disease to the cattle. This claim was shown to be ludicrous. Mike Mease, the organizer of the activist group Buffalo Field Campaign, came across as the most intelligent and rational voice on the program.

I am hopeful that this program will cause people who saw it to write letters, because continued protests to our elected officials is our best chance of ending this tragic waste of a national treasure which belongs not to Montana, but to all the people. Something which is not very well known is that Montana Governor Marc Racicot, one of the men primarily responsible for the bison slaughter, is a strong possibility to be appointed Secretary of the Interior by George Bush Jr., if Bush is elected. As a Park Ranger, I would hate to see Racicot in this position, as the National Park Service is a branch of the Department of the Interior; the symbol of the Interior Department is the bison. The environmental destruction which would follow to benefit ranchers, loggers and other special interest groups would be intolerable.

So far this year's winter has been mild in Montana. Most of the bison have stayed inside the safety of the park and none have been killed for wandering out into this backward state. But there are a couple of months of winter left that far north. Let's not wait until the killing begins again. Please go to the website of the Buffalo Field Campaign and learn what actions you can take to help end this senseless situation.

Buffalo Field Campaign 

[Editor's Note: Anyone interested in helping to work on the campaign to stop the harassment and killing of the Yellowstone Bison, please email [email protected]

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