Quarantined Bison Will Be Slaughtered for Meat

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Quarantined Bison Will Be Slaughtered for Meat

From Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC)

Update from the field: March 5, 2010

The agencies had more than five years to work with tribes and public lands managers to develop a meaningful plan for the quarantined bison. They failed to do so. Instead they called on Turner to bail them out at the last minute while falsely threatening the public that the only other option would be to slaughter the bison. Nothing, in fact, could have been further from the truth because there were tribes ready to take them home, and public lands in Montana where they could live as wildlife.

Spring is coming very early to West Yellowstone this year. We are already experiencing a big melt-off, with bare ground beginning to show. With so much available grass in the park, we haven't seen many bison in Montana. This hasn't stopped Department of Livestock agent Shane Grube from wasting U.S. tax dollars, making himself look busy at the Duck Creek bison trap, where we've seen him several times this week.

BFC has been focusing our energy on addressing the problems with Yellowstone buffalo being kept on the private ranch of media mogul and bison rancher Ted Turner. This has been an extremely challenging task, because the government and the media have been so clever in their coverage of the issue, hailing Turner as a hero who is "saving" Yellowstone buffalo. But Turner is a buffalo rancher who sells buffalo meat and canned hunts, and this is not a goodwill gesture on his part: he will be paid with living breathing Yellowstone buffalo. Buffalo that will be lost to the public and the tribes forever.

BFC has always opposed the bison quarantine, on the grounds that it is unnecessary because brucellosis is not really a threat and because it is a livestock management tool that is inappropriate for wild bison. Quarantine jeopardizes the potential for bison restoration by giving a false impression that it is the only way bison will be restored to their historic range. To buy into quarantine is to buy into the brucellosis myth. Even so, the agencies who put these buffalo through the ill-conceived program - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) - promised the public that any buffalo surviving the study would be placed on public or tribal lands. By transferring Yellowstone buffalo to the private/commercial lands of Turner, they have violated the public trust and possibly broken the law.

The agencies had more than five years to work with tribes and public lands managers to develop a meaningful plan for the quarantined bison. They failed to do so. Instead they called on Turner to bail them out at the last minute while falsely threatening the public that the only other option would be to slaughter the bison. Nothing, in fact, could have been further from the truth because there were tribes ready to take them home, and public lands in Montana where they could live as wildlife. Now the agencies are forcing us to pay for their mistake by treating the buffalo's future offspring as currency and using them to pay Ted Turner. Quarantine is part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, so we believe that funds appropriated for that failed management scheme should be used to pay Turner, not American buffalo.

If you are still unsure about how you feel regarding members of America's last wild bison population being sequestered from the public and tribes, and placed into private, commercial hands, please read BFC's Supplemental Comments to the Quarantine Plan or send us an email with your questions and concerns.

Roam Free!