Only 23 wild buffalo remained at the end of the 19th century after millions were slaughtered. Finding refuge in Yellowstone National Park, they ensured the survival of America's only wild herd.
After escaping extinction 100 years ago, the wild buffalo, an icon of the American West, is under attack again.
Facing pressure from the cattle industry, millions in taxpayer money is being spent by government agencies on wild buffalo "management" programs. These programs include tactics such as hazing, capturing, and killing.
Citing the risk of disease transmission from buffalo to cattle, the National Park Service slaughters buffalo that wander outside of Yellowstone onto public grazing lands. These executions continue despite little evidence of a disease threat. With little evidence of a threat, some think disease is a thinly veiled justification for keeping them off of public grazing lands, which ranchers rely on for profit, by any means necessary including killing.
These executions increase the risk of extinction. The herd was reduced by two-thirds in 1996-97 due to 1,100 wild buffalo executions and a severe winter. This dramatic loss made clear that it is possible we could lose this herd forever.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY.
HR 2428 was recently introduced in Congress. The bill proposes more humane management of Yellowstone buffalo. Please ask your congressional representative to support HR 2428.
Your colleagues Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH) have recently introduced HR 2428, also known as the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act.
I strongly urge you to support this bill. The wild buffalo that roam in and around Yellowstone National Park are the last remaining herd of wild buffalo, ancestors of just 23 buffalos that remained after the slaughter of millions of buffalo in the 19th century.
This beautiful animal, an icon of the American West, is still threatened today by aggressive, unnecessary, and expensive “management” practices that include hazing (chasing bison with helicopters, snowmobiles, horses and ATV's), capturing, and systematic killing of wild buffalo. 267 wild buffalo were killed in 2004 and two thirds of the herd was lost in the winter of 1996-97 due to 1,100 executions and an unusually severe winter. That tragic winter demonstrated that it is conceivable that a combination of unforeseen events and executions could wipe out the entire herd.
The excuse for this unnecessary killing is the supposed threat of brucellosis transmission from buffalo to cattle (brucellosis causes pregnant cows to abort). These killings continue today despite the fact that there has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission from wild buffalo to cattle.
HR 2428 proposes a more sensible and humane plan for management of wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. Please support this bill and protect the last remaining herd of wild buffalo.
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