Citizens Take Message to Montana State Capitol Saturday

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2004

Ted Fellman (406) 646-0070

Helena, Montana - A nationwide survey finds that 75 percent of Americans disapprove of slaughtering buffalo wandering outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) and the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) have killed 278 buffalo this year and hazed and harassed wild buffalo nearly every day this spring. The Yellowstone herd is the last remaining continuously wild, genetically pure herd of buffalo in the United States.

The survey was commissioned by The Humane Society of the United States and conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates in April 2004. Out of 900 adults in the United States, 75 percent of respondents said that they disapproved of the policy allowing the slaughter, with 59 percent of those polled indicating that they "strongly disapprove." An even higher proportion of respondents oppose the use of federal funds to implement the program to kill the buffalo. The poll has a margin of error of ± 3.3 percent.

"It's a travesty that this lethal policy continues year after year despite such strong public opposition," said Wayne Pacelle, CEO-Designate of The Humane Society of the United States.

Citizens Take Message to Montana State Capitol Saturday

Buffalo supporters will gather at the Montana State Capitol in Helena on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 to mourn the buffalo killed this year and speak out to stop the ongoing slaughter. The group will place 278 gravestones, one for each buffalo killed this season, on the East Lawn of the Montana State Capitol. "Montana has zero tolerance for wild buffalo in the state. The responsibility for the ongoing slaughter of the last herd of wild bison rests here, at the Montana State Capitol," said Ted Fellman of the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC).

Under pressure from Montana's powerful livestock industry, the state and Federal Governments have slaughtered 2,780 Yellowstone buffalo in the past ten years. Brucellosis is the supposed reason for the slaughter but there has never been a documented transmission from wild buffalo to livestock. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, government agencies spend three million dollars a year on the Interagency Bison Management Plan, a plan that denies America's last wild herd of buffalo access to public lands in and adjacent to America's first national park.

"The buffalo slaughtered this year and in previous years died needlessly, senselessly, and cruelly," said BFC volunteer Stephany Seay. "America's rich natural heritage is far too precious to be victimized by greed. The state of Montana has a unique opportunity and should recognize the great treasure in our midst. We urge the state to stop the slaughter now, once and for all."

Dressed in black, citizens will gather between the State Capitol and the Montana Department of Livestock in protest of the continued hazing, capture, testing, and slaughter of the Yellowstone buffalo.

This event is being organized by the Buffalo Field Campaign, the only group working in the field 365 days a year to protect America's last wild buffalo