How Many More Yellowstone Bison Will Be Sacrificed On The Cow Altar?

UPDATE: February 5, 2011

Plan to slaughter stray Yellowstone bison ignites furor

Please sign the Buffalo Field Campaign’s Petition To Stop The Slaughter of Yellowstone’s Bison



Here we go again. Yellowstone bison are in danger of being slaughtered because they are daring to leave the park in search of food. A request for an emergency injunction, to stop the slaughter, has been filed by Western Watersheds Project, BFC and other wildlife groups. To read the brief CLICK HERE.

This winter has been extremely harsh in Yellowstone National Park and the bison are HUNGRY!! They are leaving the park to access better feeding grounds but Montana livestock officials are having none of it. Bison are being stopped at the border, rounded up and put in holding pens. Why? Because the excuse is SOME bison carry brucellosis. Really? So do ELK!!

From the Buffalo Field Campaign:

The fact that elk also carry brucellosis, yet are not slaughtered as a result, reveals an inconsistency in the Montana Department of Livestock’s logic. Over 100,000 elk are allowed to roam freely in and around Yellowstone National Park’s borders. Elk hunting is also a tremendous source of revenue for the State of Montana and there would be tremendous public outcry from outfitters and the hunting public if there were a slaughter of the elk. Slaughtering the buffalo makes no sense when there is always the risk of reinfection from the elk. The real issue is the competition between buffalo and cattle public-lands forage. The livestock industry has no interest in sharing these public lands with America’s largest free-ranging herd of buffalo.

Yes, precious elk carry the same disease, yet they are allowed to run freely though out Montana. If elk can roam free, while carrying brucellosis, why are bison singled out?  Because as was previously stated outfitters and hunters would have a fit. That seems to drive everything in Montana. What hunters, ranchers and outfitters want, they get. Dead wolves? Dead bison? Two species being sacrificed on the cow altar.

The captured bison are being tested for brucellosis. ALL bison testing positive are due to be shipped to slaughter. These animals, pushed by hunger,  have been sentenced to death because they tried to access their lower elevation feeding grounds. Does it get any harsher than that?

The remaining bison are supposed to be held in the holding pens until Spring but in reality the pens only hold 400 animals and they’re almost full. With more and more bison wandering out of the park in search of food, there will be no pens left to hold them. Will 2011 be a repeat of  the slaughter of 2008?

“In 2008, a record 1,600 bison were killed leaving the park, including more than 1,400 that were shipped to slaughter.” (AP)

The Buffalo Field Campaign has done a tremendous job monitoring and working to protect Yellowstone’s wild free-roaming bison. BFC has teamed up with Western Watersheds Project and other wildlife advocates to try to prevent the latest round of killings of America’s iconic bison. A brief has been filed asking  for an emergency injunction, to prevent the bison from being carted off to slaughter.


400 Bison Captured In Yellowstone; BFC Files Emergency Injunction to Stop Slaughter

Weekly Update from the Field February 3, 2011

Update from the Field: Park Service Captures 400 Bison; BFC Files Emergency Injunction to Stop Slaughter

Bison were once nearly extinct in the US, destroyed along with the Native American way of life. Estimates of 25 to 50 million bison were wiped out during the settlement of  America. The history of this country is drenched in bison blood. Yet the harassment and killing of Yellowstone’s iconic wild free-roaming bison continues, all in the name of the sacred cow?

“The US Army sanctioned and actively endorsed the wholesale slaughter of bison herds.[28] The US federal government promoted bison hunting for various reasons, to allow ranchers to range their cattle without competition from other bovines, and primarily to weaken the North American Indian population by removing their main food source and to pressure them onto the reservations.[29] Without the bison, native people of the plains were forced either to leave the land or starve to death.”Wikipedia

It gets worse:

For a decade from 1873 on, there were several hundred, perhaps over a thousand, such commercial hide/market hunting outfits harvesting bison at any one time, vastly exceeding the take by American Indians or individual meat hunters. The commercial take arguably was anywhere from 2,000 to 100,000 animals per day depending on the season, though there are no statistics available. It was said that the Big .50s were fired so much that the market hunters needed at least two rifles to let the barrels cool off; The Fireside Book of Guns reports they were sometimes quenched in the winter snow. Dodge City saw railroad cars sent East filled with stacked hides.Wikipedia

That’s just a tiny peek into the brutality that reigned down upon the American bison. We owe them better than that. Yellowstone bison are a national treasure with a limited gene pool. The annual cycle of hazing and slaughtering bison, when they attempt to leave the park in search of food, is brutal and unnecessary.

The Montana Department of Livestock, the cattle industry and their minions are behind this outrage.I don’t think any of this has to do with brucellosis.  They don’t want to share grass with the bison. It’s reminiscent of the 1800’s when the government wanted “to allow ranchers to range their cattle without competition from other bovines.”

Think about it, nothing is done to stop “brucellosis carrying elk” from freely wandering the state? If Montana was so worried about it they’d be rounding up, testing and slaughtering elk.

The Montana livestock industry can hide behind this transparent disease excuse but common sense tells you it’s a red herring. It diverts attention from their real agenda which is to of prevent competition for grazing land between bison and cattle. Wild horses are being run off their lands for the very same reason. Hundreds of wolves are killed every year for ranching interests.

Meanwhile Yellowstone bison continue to suffer. Not just this year but every year they dare to leave the park.

They are hazed with helicopters, snowmobiles, etc., to drive them back into the Yellowstone.  This is especially deadly in Spring months when new calves, some just days or hours old, must run for their lives, sometimes becoming separated from their mothers, sometimes dying in the chaos filled madness as they are being driven relentlessly back to the park. Any bison remaining outside the park boundaries by May 15 will likely be shot and killed.

In this 2006 video, from the Buffalo Field Campaign, the Montana Department of Livestock hazed these bison onto thin ice and they fell into the freezing water. It’s heartbreaking to watch. These buffalo are chased onto thin ice by Montana’s Department of Livestock. They subsequently fall though and are some die thanks to those in charge of the last wild bison on Earth.

======= On March 14 and 15 the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) captured and slaughtered 33 Yellowstone buffalo. These buffalo had been peacefully grazing on the shore of Hebgen Lake since early January. This is the same herd that DOL agents chased onto thin ice on January 11, drowning two in the frigid water.



Please support and donate to the Buffalo Field Campaign!!

Visit their website and take action for Yellowstone’s beleaguered bison. They need our help!!

Buffalo Field Campaign


Bison slaughter on hold as park reviews lawsuit

February 4, 2011\fort_flops/


Bison slaughter challenged as habitat effort flops


400 Yellowstone Bison Held For Possible Slaughter

February 4, 2011

Animals that test positive for exposure to the disease Brucellosis were to be sent to slaughter in coming days. Matthew Brown/AP


Videos: Courtesy www.  

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Yellowstone’s Wild Free-Roaming Bison, Biodiversity

Tags: Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project,  Montana Department of Livestock. bison slaughter, harsh Yellowstone winter, bison under siege, hungry bison

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Plan to Slaughter Yellowstone Bison Creates Furor


    • Thank goodness people are speaking out. Keep those letters flowing to the Governor and sign the petition on the Buffalo Field Campaigns website.



  2. This statement from the above article says it all!!

    Livestock producers say their misgivings about bison go beyond brucellosis. They worry buffalo will displace cattle on public lands with grazing permits.
    “Ranchers have a lot of fear that bison restoration will result in the destruction of cattle grazing,” Montana Stock growers Association Vice President Errol Rice said in a recent interview.


  3. The disease argument. Oh how clever [not].
    Where is the evidence that these animals are carrying brucellosis? Wouldn’t there had to have been some form of investigation into the health of these animals before they even considered doing this?

    Yellowstone is not a zoo where animals are locked away behind concrete barriers. This is a blatant waste of resources just to placate the livestock industry. Where is that cowboy backbone, or is that just some myth perpetuated by actors like Clayton Moore and Marion Morrison?

    Think its time to change that old song:

    O’ give me a home, where only my cattle should roam.
    And the elk and buffalo do not graze.
    Where seldom is heard, an environmentally friend-ly word.
    And we don’t have no wolves in the state!


    • This is a cover for their real reason John. They don’t want bison competing with cattle for range. That’s it. I’m not buying the brucellosis argument for one second. Elk carry it, I don’t see them slaughtering elk in Montana.



      • “I don’t see them slaughtering elk in Montana.”
        Because then hunters would complain about lost hunting opportunities. And besides, haven’t those huge Canadian Wolves killed all the elk in Montana?

        Seriously though…no arguments here, its a load of bull pies. Jerry Black’s highlighted statement pointed that one out.


      • Oh no John, they aren’t going to slaughter elk for brucellosis, you’d hear the hunters yelling in New York. They might do some random studies that will take years, just to look like they’re doing something…as a matter of fact I read yesterday that FWP was going to conduct an elk brucellosis study but there won’t be any penning, testing and slaughtering of elk. That’s reserved for the non-acceptable animal, the bison.





    • Thanks for the links Jerry.



  5. This is horrifc. These animals are considered “near threatened” and now they want to cull them off? Just because the ignorant ranchers don’t want them to eat?

    These ranchers know NOTHING about the importance of these animals (or any animal for that fact). If bison go, that will be another food source for the wolves that has vanished. Once the wolves become hungry, they will venture into ranches and take calves and sheep for the fact that they are starving. THEN they will blame the wolves for eating their livestock for no reason!

    Take a look at this.

    Terrible isn’t it? How much more will it take for the bison to be wiped out completely? Huh, not much.



    • That is just sick…omg all those bison, it’s horrific. We have done them so wrong, Zarago.



  6. Imagine how many more bison, elk, moose, deer, etc our public lands would support if these animals didn’t have to compete with cattle for forage on OUR PUBLIC LANDS.


  7. OMFG, this just makes me apoplectic to the point I cannot even type. I am so god-damned sick and tired of wildlife, all wildlife, whether it’s wolves, wild mustangs, or bison being sacrificed at the alter of the Cattlemens Association! As I said in a letter to the editor of several major newspapers today: “As long as we continue to allow the cattle industry to occupy public grazing land at taxpayer expense our mountains and prairies that we so eloquently sing of in “God Bless America” is going to become nothing more than a national stockyard. And a national disgrace.”

    Nabeki, I have sent you an email regarding an idea I have.


    • I am with you on this SCWG. There is one outrage after another. No animal is left in peace. They have their boot on the necks of our predators and now the bison. What next, I guess we all know. The grizzly bear.

      I’m looking forward to reading you idea!



  8. Does man really need an excuse to kill or is this his justification to usage his guilt?
    I looked into the face and eyes of one of those Bison over there last year and those ancient souls touched my heart forever…..
    Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. (Cree Proverb)


    • They make me sick CBJ.









  12. I propose a year round slow-elk(cows) hunt with a limit of one of each color. You decide how many colors.


    • That would be funny if it wasn’t so sad Larry.



  13. Here’s one reason these “welfare ranchers” can stay in business.


    • Thanks Jerry, you always find such great links, You’re officially in the HFJ research dept…lol.



  14. The answer is: Bison and other native wild animals will continue to be sacrificed until we put an end to the Destructive Livestock Industry–and at least get them off all public lands!


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