For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2005
Justine Sanchez, 406-646-0070
West Yellowstone, Montana - At approximately 1:15 PM yesterday, Montana Department of Livestock agents, Yellowstone National Park rangers, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens, and US Forest Service officers repeatedly hazed a pregnant female buffalo along with her yearling and calf into high tension wire and barbed wire fencing causing severe injury to all three for over thirty minutes. The buffalo had evaded capture by the agencies at the Duck Creek buffalo trap after over seven miles of grueling and intense hazing that began on National Forest land on the Horse Butte Peninsula. The three buffalo eventually made their way across the boundary into the relative safety of the Park.
37 other buffalo that were part of the same hazing operation from Horse Butte were captured at the Duck Creek trap. Those buffalo will now go through the torturous process of testing for brucellosis exposure, sorting and shipping either to the slaughterhouse, the quarantine facility, or possible release back to Horse Butte where they were peacefully grazing for the past few days after last week's operations.
All three of the buffalo that were hazed into the fencing were visibly bleeding from open wounds. The pregnant mother buffalo was especially torn up and was bleeding profusely from the chest as she retreated into the Park. BFC volunteers documenting the abuse witnessed the agents chase the buffalo into the various fences at least ten times before finally allowing them to return to the Park.
"The cruelty demonstrated by the Department of Livestock toward the buffalo is truly without equal and unfortunately expected after so many years of abuse. However, the participation of Park rangers and Montana game wardens is absolutely reprehensible. The American people should be able to expect a certain level of decency and concern for the well being of our only continuously wild buffalo from the civil servants we pay to protect them." remarked Josh Osher of the Buffalo Field Campaign.
The 37 buffalo captured yesterday bring the total captured since March 21, 2005 to 168. 63 buffalo have been sent to slaughter by the livestock agency since then with an additional 14 calves being shipped to a quarantine facility near Gardiner, Montana. Three other buffalo were also killed by the agencies this past fall. At least half of the quarantined calves will also be slaughtered after a year of confinement and experimentation. Current plans call for the capture and quarantine of up to 100 calves for each of the next two years with at least half going to slaughter as part of the experiment.
Hazing and capture operations by the Dept. of Livestock and cooperating agencies will continue over the next two months and throughout the buffalo calving season. Over 150 buffalo remain on Horse Butte after today's haze and capture and more will likely return to their traditional calving grounds in the coming weeks. If current trends continue, the Dept. of Livestock will slaughter over 300 wild buffalo before June when the migratory buffalo will naturally return to the interior of Yellowstone National Park. Domestic cattle will not be present in the West Yellowstone area until June 15 at the earliest.
The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their native habitat and advocate for their protection.