For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2006
Darrell Geist, 406-646-0070
West Yellowstone, Montana - This morning, Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents sent two wild Yellowstone bull bison to slaughter. The livestock inspectors captured the bison Wednesday afternoon in the Duck Creek buffalo trap located on private land less than 200 yards from the western border of Yellowstone National Park. The buffalo were chased more than eight miles from the Horse Butte Peninsula by agents shooting explosive cracker rounds from trucks, ATVs, and horses.
The bulls had been grazing peacefully in the Yellowstone Village subdivision, which the agents entered against the wishes of local residents who recently passed protective covenants against such bison hazing and capture operations. During the operation the bulls were chased into barbed-wire fences.
"Today's slaughter demonstrates Montana's refusal to accept sound science and contradicts recent statements made by Governor Schweitzer about wanting to increase tolerance for bison in the state," said Dan Brister of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "Killing low-risk bulls sure is a strange way to demonstrate tolerance," he said.
When he ran for office, Schweitzer said that management of buffalo and the protection of Montana's brucellosis-free status should be determined by "science, not hyperbole," and that the MDOL is "ill equipped" to manage wild buffalo in the State of Montana.
"If the Department of Livestock is concerned about disease, then Governor Schweitzer should send them out to watch cattle fences," said Darrell Geist, a member of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "When local ranchers import cattle to graze on the bison's native habitat, it should be the ranchers' job to mind their cattle. If they want help from the state to protect their cattle, it shouldn't be at the expense of native bison or their habitat."
State and Federal agents killed 970 Yellowstone bison last winter and 40 were killed in a controversial hunt. The Yellowstone herd is both behaviorally and genetically unique and is America's only herd to continuously occupy its native habitat.
The Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo and their native habitat and advocate for their lasting protection.
* Correction: In yesterday's press release we incorrectly stated: "Last winter the DOL and National Park Service killed 1,010 Yellowstone bison." In fact, 970 bison were killed by the DOL and Park Service and 40 were killed in a hunt authorized by the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks and the DOL.