Animal Writes
18 March 2001 Issue
Buffalo Slaughter Continues

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 second place.

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

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