by Park [email protected]
On Wednesday, March 15, the state of Montana slaughtered
two male bison of the last wild herd of Yellowstone National Park
because they wandered beyond park boundaries to graze. It was the first
such killing in two years because the state has been keeping a low
profile on this issue until after Bush was elected. In the last decade,
the state of Montana has slaughtered thousands of Yellowstone bison.
Now the slaughter has begun again to protect the
interests of a handful of cattle ranchers in Montana. This issue is
especially close to my heart because I am a National Park Service Ranger
who has vowed to protect the national treasures and resources that our
country has deemed to be special. But my agency can't seem to protect
the very animal which is our adopted symbol, images of which we have on
our uniforms, on our stationary, on our badges.
This was a senseless act. Male bison cannot transmit the
disease brucellosis to cattle even in theory. Only by eating the tissue
from an infected female bison's aborted birth event could a cow contract
the bacteria, and the transmission of this disease from a bison to a cow
has never been documented in the wild.
But this disease is the excuse Montana officials use to
justify a program which is self-perpetuating: Montana gets millions of
dollars from the federal government to support their "bison management"
program, to harass and kill buffalo to protect the profits of cattle
ranchers, whose cattle won't even be brought into the National Forest
lands to graze until June.
This is an outrage, and violates the mission and
policies of the Forest Service and the Park Service, but because the
Beef Industry is involved, all concerns for protecting our heritage take
Seven members of the bison protection group, Buffalo
Field Campaign, were arrested after they had saved eight bison from
being captured by agents of the Montana Department of Livestock.
For more information on this story, including who to
write to protest, please go to
News from theField: March 15th, 2001
and visit the Buffalo Field Campaign homepage, learn how
you can help ...
Buffalo Field Campaign
Go on to Working
Return to 18 March 2001 Issue
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