YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA. Montana Department
of Livestock agents are currently erecting a bison trap
near the West Yellowstone Airport, located just outside
the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
According to statements made by the agents and the Montana
governor's office, the state plans to capture and slaughter
any bison in Montana starting as soon as tomorrow.
According to Bill Queen of the Hebgen Ranger District
of the Gallatin National Forest, Forest Service lands
and airport lands near the trap site will be closed
to the public. However, members of the media and
the public will be allowed to view operations from a
There are approximately 250 bison grazing on National
Forest lands in the area near the Madison River and
Hebgen Reservoir. While the purported reason for
the bison slaughter is to protect Montana's livestock
industry from the European livestock disease brucellosis,
at no time of the year do cattle occupy these public
lands. There has never been a documented brucellosis
transmission from wild bison to livestock.
"Governor Schweitzer campaigned on promises of
providing greater tolerance for bison in Montana,"
said Dan Brister of the wild bison advocacy group Buffalo
Field Campaign, "yet he bends to the irrational
will of the Stockgrowers whenever they demand more dead
bison. Since Governor Schweitzer has been in office,
1,177 Yellowstone bison have been killed."
Brucellosis has been receiving great attention in the
state since last week when seven members of a Bridger,
MT cattle herd tested positive for antibodies to the
disease. Because Yellowstone bison never came
anywhere near these cattle, it is certain that they
are not the source of infection and likely that cattle
are responsible for the transmission.
Wild bison are native to Montana yet ecologically extinct
everywhere outside of Yellowstone National Park.
Bison management currently falls under authority of
the Montana Department of Livestock, an agency which
manages them as a nuisance animal. Wild bison
are never allowed in the state without being subject
to harassment, slaughter, or shooting.
Buffalo Field Campaign calls on the state to provide
year-round habitat for wild bison and allow bison to
restore a viable population on public lands in Montana.
American Bison once spanned the continent, numbering
between 30 and 50 million. The Yellowstone bison are
America's only continuously wild, genetically unique
herd, numbering fewer than 4,000 animals, less than
.01 percent of their former population.
1,912 bison have been killed since 2000 under the Interagency
Bison Management Plan. Last winter Federal and
State agencies killed or authorized the killing of more
than 1,010 bison. Since September of 2006 two
bison have been captured and sent to slaughter by Montana
Department of Livestock agents and hunters killed 58.
Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working
in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the
wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the
buffalo and their native habitat and advocate for their
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