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For thousands of years, native tribes of North America had a reverent relationship with the wild bison they hunted with sustainable respect. But in the 1870s the United States government, with a goal to end life as native tribes knew it, massacred thousands of bison to make way for cattle ranchers and railroads. Now it’s at it again, with the same economic forces still at play.
And, not surprisingly, modern native tribe leaders say they are still being blocked from the decision-making process.
Since 1985 the US has been hazing Yellowstone’s most important, free-roaming bison population in the world, descended from survivors of the 1870s massacre. This winter Montana’s Board of Livestock plans to slaughter as many as 800, claiming bison roaming outside the park threaten cattle with brucellosis - a concern Buffalo Field Campaign says is based on myth. Already around 450 have been trapped and slaughtered mostly in the Gardiner Basin - with some sent to research labs. Most disturbing is that Yellowstone is trying to keep its operations secret, that the bison slaughtered were not outside park boundaries and that this massacre is not necessary.
The National Wildlife Federation has secured an immense 400,000-acre buffer area adjacent to the park where bison can wander without posing any real or imagined threat to cattle. But it may take public outcry to break down the Board of Livestock’s opposition.
Demand the government accept an alternative plan, and stop this slaughter now!
We, the undersigned, say America’s wild buffalo or bison should be allowed to roam free and not ever be subject to slaughter by the US Government again.
Buffalo Field Campaign says “The actions of Montana's Department of Livestock are in the same vein as the actions of their predecessors“ - those who perpetrated the slaughter in the 1870s. BFC quotes Lakota leader Joseph Chasing Horse as noting that "When the U.S. government slaughtered the buffalo as a way to subjugate Indian people, they put into motion an imbalance in the ecosystem that continues today."
What’s worse is that the current culling methods are cruel and done in secret, with media barred from exposing details of the slaughter. However Comfrey Jacobs, a young man,who witnessed it himself during the last weeks and attempted to block the slaughtering, described what he saw:
“During my time in Gardiner,” said Jacobs, “I was feeling helpless as I watched wild buffalo lured and trapped, fed hay like livestock, tortured with sorting and testing, and eventually crammed into livestock trailers headed for slaughter facilities, while simultaneously bison were being hunted just outside the Park boundary.”
The National Wildlife Foundation, Gallatin Wildlife Association and many others know this slaughter is unnecessary, and the Board of Livestock simply wants to confine native bison like domestic livestock to small areas, just as the government once demanded that native Americans be confined on reservations.
And Eco-News says that none of the bison slaughered this year have even left the boundaries of Yellowstone!
The American bison, says Buffalo Field Campaign, is a “valued and recovered native wildlife species,” and it must be recognized as such and protected.
We demand that the Board of Livestock and Yellowstone accept alternate solutions proposed by the NWF and GWA to any real or imagined threats from free-roaming wild bison. Stop this slaughter at once!