Polish authorities will likely approve the killing of a herd of 25 rare European bison infected with tuberculosis. But is this necessary?
A spokesperson for a group of 18 experts who met in Krosno to decide the herd's fate told Associated Press it was a painful decision to which there's no alternative if other herds are to be protected.
However, news reports don't say whether these experts considered the success of at least one herd of infected bison living in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park. Located in the Northwest Territory, the park includes a Bison Control Area to prevent the spread of disease to uninfected herds elsewhere.
Although numbers at Wood Buffalo declined from 1971 to 1999, in 2002 the herd's size doubled. So far, says Canada's Environment and Natural Resources, there's no explanation for the increase.
Tell Poland at least look into this situation and exhaust all alternatives (including vaccinating other herds) before killing these rare bison!
We, the undersigned, urge the Polish government to look into alternatives before killing bison infected with tuberculosis.
Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park gives at least one altnerative approach to protecting uninfected herds from those afflicted with the disease, and we feel the Polish Government should at least exhaust every possible avenue to prevent the killings if possible. http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/_live/pages/wpPages/Wood_Buffalo_National_Park_herd.aspx
As one suggestion, perhaps this herd of 25 in Poland could be isolated at least until a vaccine can be developed to protect others.
Though bison have been afflicted with TB as early as 18,000 years ago, the species thrived until humans nearly depleted it in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Perhaps the Wood Buffalo experiment is an indication that herds can recover from the disease in time.
We ask that you please consider all other options before killing these rare and magnificent creatures, and we thank you for your attention to these concerns.
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