is the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)?
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is
one of five agencies involved in the Interagency Bison Management
Plan. APHIS is the federal agency responsible for the
national brucellosis eradication program and is solely responsible
for designating the brucellosis status of individual states.
All of the funds spent by the state of Montana to implement
the Plan come from APHIS as part of their annual $9 million
brucellosis eradication budget.
The DOL receives approximately $600,000 a year for the Plan
and another $250,000 for the Greater Yellowstone Interagency
Brucellosis Committee comes directly from APHIS.
Additionally, APHIS spends millions of dollars annually for
research into brucellosis vaccination of buffalo and elk.
Recently, APHIS has taken the lead on quarantine research for
Yellowstone buffalo. APHIS also served in an advisory
role to the Wyoming brucellosis coordinating committee that
has recommended test and slaughter of elk on the Pinedale Feed
But what is APHIS really all about?
The reality is that APHIS is the federal arm of the agricultural
industries. In addition to disease control, APHIS administers
the grossly inappropriately named "wildlife services"
division. Formerly known as animal damage control, APHIS
oversees and administers the shooting, poisoning, and trapping
of millions of wild animals deemed to be pests to agriculture
including prairie dogs, ravens, coyotes, beavers, foxes, opossums,
and countless other species.
Ironically APHIS also administers the Animal Welfare Act designed
to protect livestock from inhumane treatment. This is
akin to designating the Nazi SS as the watchdog for the treatment
of Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. Additionally, APHIS is the
agency responsible for representing the United States in international
trade regulatory talks related to the import and export of agriculture
products including the provisions for livestock diseases such
Under the 2002 Animal Health Protection Act, APHIS claims to
have gained authority over any "animal" (humans?)
that might be considered a pest to the livestock industry.
APHIS has already claimed that this act allows them to assert
primary authority in developing and carrying out management
plans regardless of the other jurisdictions in place.
In other words, APHIS claims that if they choose to, they could
come into Yellowstone National Park and capture, test and slaughter
any potentially disease-infected buffalo, elk or any other species
for that matter.
At a public meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in May 2003, APHIS
unveiled their intentions to develop a brucellosis eradication
plan for the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) and designate themselves
as the lead agency. Furthermore, APHIS admits that the
only currently developed "tools" for eradicating brucellosis
are test and slaughter in combination with vaccination.
However, given the relative ineffectiveness of the available
vaccines in bison and elk, test and slaughter would be the primary
means of eradication. Montana resolution HJ22 requests
that APHIS be named the lead agency for brucellosis eradication
in the GYA with full knowledge of how APHIS would administer
such a program.
It is high time that APHIS be exposed for what they really are,
the heavy hand of the agricultural industries. APHIS has
no real concern for wildlife or the ecosystems they inhabit
except when agriculture is potentially affected in which case
they aim to eliminate the "problem" (i.e. wildlife)
to insure maximum profit for the industries they represent.
APHIS must hear from you and the message must be clear.
Tell APHIS to keep their hands off of our wildlife now and in
Let APHIS know that Americans will not stand to see the agents
of death destroy our last and only wild buffalo for the benefit
of the livestock industry.
|FAQ about the yellowstone buffalo slaughter