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From  Issue
9 June 2002
Stop the Bison Slaughter

By Greg Lawson - [email protected] 

Since 1984 I have been proud to be a National Park Service ranger, I have also been deeply ashamed that the NPS has been unable to protect the very animal which is it's symbol, the bison, also known as the American buffalo. Since the year I became a ranger, the state of Montana has slaughtered over 3500 bison who wandered outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park onto other public land in the Gallatin National Forest. The Park Service and the Forest Service have assisted the Montana Department of Livestock to capture and destroy these buffalo.

The US Forest Service, which mismanages much of our federal land, is a branch of the Department of Agriculture and still operates under the notion that cattle grazing, logging and mining are the most productive uses of the wilderness. The National Park Service maintains over 370 parks, monuments, memorials and other areas including Yellowstone which is home to the last wild, free roaming herd of bison.

More than 200 bison were senselessly slaughtered this last winter and spring to protect the interests of a handful of cattle ranchers. I had hoped that the killing was over for this season at Yellowstone, but on Wednesday, June 5, the Montana Department of Livestock shot two more bison.

In late May, the Montana DOL stopped testing the bison they captured for brucellosis, which has been the excuse they have used to justify the killing. The cattle ranchers were worried about this disease, supposedly. But, there has never been a case of bison transmitting brucellosis to cows in the wild. The elk of the region also carry the brucellosis bacteria and have passed the disease to cattle. But Montana doesn't cull the elk because elk hunting brings in millions of dollars to the state's economy. The truth is, the cattle industry of Montana considers buffalo pests and they feel they are the ones who should control the wildlife and lands in Montana. It's a range war between the state and federal government.

Over the next 15 years, the federal government plans to spend $45 million to haze, capture and slaughter bison that wander outside Yellowstone Park. Almost all the bison wander into one livestock grazing allotment in the Gallatin National Forest, an allotment that returns to the government less than $800 a year in grazing fees and which isn't even grazed by Montana livestock, but by cows trucked in from Idaho.

On May 30th, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered a halt to cattle grazing at Horse Butte, land near Yellowstone National Park's western border, until the U.S. Forest Service does an impact assessment and determines how cattle grazing affects bison and other wildlife. This is a major victory which will put a hold on grazing in the area until 2004. Read about this decision here... bison: judge's decision halts cattle grazing at Horse Butte, Montana

Now is the time to pressure the Forest Service not to reissue grazing permits at Horse Butte. Please take a moment to call or write.....

Dale Bosworth; Chief, United States Forest Service
4NW Yates Federal Building 201 14th Street SW at Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
phone - 202 205 1661
email [email protected] 

The Fund for Animals has this action page with a sample letter you can send to Montana Governor Judy Martz. Ask her to please stop killing the bison of Yellowstone. These animals belong to all of us and are being killed on public land.
The Fund for Animals: Take Action! 

Governor Judy Martz
State Capitol
1301 East 6th Avenue
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Telephone: (406) 444-3111
Fax: (406) 444-4151

To learn more about this issue and what you can do, please visit Buffalo Field Campaign the only group in the field every day trying to protect the buffalo. Here is a link to their action page Speak out for the Buffalo!
with names and addresses you can write to stop this senseless annual slaughter.

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