Thinkstock/Konstantin Grishin
Bison in Yellowstone National Park. Those that stray outside the northern borders in winter are liable to be scooped up and shipped to slaughter.

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter Over, Controversy Remains

ICTMN Staff
3/14/14

The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone National Park has been declared finished for the year, but the controversy is far from over.

A season that saw acrimony erupt between two tribes, as well as the arrest and arraignment of a young activist, was topped off by a U.S. government study that said bison don’t have to be slaughtered to prevent the spread of brucellosis.

It has become something of an annual tradition: Bison seeking sustenance in deepest winter edge out of Yellowstone National Park’s northern border to forage in Montana where, ranchers say, the animals’ potential contamination with brucellosis threatens livestock. This year, at any rate, tribes got to take the buffalo and use the meat, hearkening back to traditions that pre-date the park or the presence of any ranchers. But many conservationists objected to one of the methods, which entailed the trucking of hundreds of bison to slaughterhouses, rather than hunting them.

“The problem isn’t with killing buffalo, it’s with indiscriminate killing of buffalo,” said Jim Stone, chairman of the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council, to the Billings Gazette. “The tribes have been opposed to a lot of what the park has done.”

What tribes would like to see, Stone said, is for disease-free calves to be transplanted to tribes that already have bison herds, with slaughter reserved for older bulls and cows only. Fifty-eight tribes in 19 states belong to the Tribal Buffalo Council, and 50 of those tribes maintain herds, the Billings Gazette said.

Earlier this month 20-year-old Comfrey Jacobs of Grand Junction, Colorado, was arrested after chaining himself for five hours to a 50-gallon, cement-filled drum in the middle of the road leading to a bison capture facility, the Billings Gazette reported on March 6. Though he did not slow down the process—three horse trailers laden with bison headed for slaughter rumbled by as authorities were cutting his chains—he was charged with disorderly conduct, breaking the area closure around the capture facility and interfering with government operations, the Gazette said. Arraigned on Tuesday March 11, Jacobs refused a plea bargain and will appear in court again on April 2, the Billings Gazette said.

The season was declared over on March 7 after about 600 bison had been removed in total, the Associated Press reported. Authorities told AP that 258 bison that had migrated outside the park had been captured and shipped to slaughter, while hunters had killed 264 or more, and 60 others had been put into an animal-contraception experiment.

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indianmedicine's picture
indianmedicine
Submitted by indianmedicine on
"Buffalo Ranching" is part of the nations, and NAI Nations Infrastructure. .......................................................................................................................... I would venture to say that the Excess Herd, could and should be used for Native American Ranching, either of Buffalo or "Beef-a-Lo" for these Cash Strapped communities and the Unemployed............................................... "Agribusiness" can Profit many, and "Put Food On The Table"................. ........................................................................................................................... "Animal Husbandry" is a Vocation and learned discipline, and anyone involved in Education, Animal Medicine, Agriculture,and Business knows this or reasonably should know this as they perform their Vocations Day to Day. ............................................................................................................................ Let the Community Colleges be the Start of Teaching and Qualifying our Young in Agribusiness of Buffalo Ranching - and you will see a dedicated group of people doing something to support the internal Infrastructure of this nation so badly needed.................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................... Let The Circle of Nations Elders be presented with this concept, and move on it before more time and resources are wasted because of "Poor Vision" of the "Over Sight" of the herds and NAI People.................................................... ...........................................................................................................................

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
There are similar controversies here in New Mexico. For instance, there is a wild horse heard that wanders freely on White Sands Missile Range, but they occasionally cut back their numbers while providing meat for dog food companies. The biggest problem are the Oryx who were transplanted here. They are too large to have natural predators and they decimate food sources for all larger animals in an area. They also have organized hunts to cut back their numbers. Being Apache, I feel a kinship with the wild horses and wish there could be alternatives to slaughter. I lament the White man's method of round up and slaughter. This is always their answer to things they don't like and as WWII has proven, they're even willing to do it with people.
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