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PNS Daily Newscast - November 22, 2017 


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Slaughter Planned Where the Buffalo Roam

Protestors are marching in southeastern Montana all week to protest the planned slaughter of about 900 wild Yellowstone Bison by the National Park Service. (Buffalo Field Campaign)
Protestors are marching in southeastern Montana all week to protest the planned slaughter of about 900 wild Yellowstone Bison by the National Park Service. (Buffalo Field Campaign)
February 15, 2016

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. – Protestors with the Buffalo Field Campaign fan out across southeastern Montana this week to raise awareness about the planned hunt and slaughter of about 900 Yellowstone bison by the National Park Service.

The herd numbers around 4,900 and every year, some animals migrate into Montana, where they're either shot or spooked with all-terrain vehicles or helicopters to drive them back into the park, mostly by cattle ranchers who say they're concerned the bison might spread brucellosis.

Stephany Seay, media coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign, says there's never been a documented case of buffalo infecting cattle. She says elk spread the disease and yet, are allowed to roam freely.

"It's not an issue about brucellosis,” she stresses. “That's what the livestock industry is using to try to control bison.

“The real issue is about the grass, and who gets to eat it. And they want to hoard the landscape for fattening up cattle. They don't want to share it with wild bison."

The Buffalo Field Campaign is organizing marches and vigils in Bozeman today, in Gardiner on Tuesday and in West Yellowstone on Friday.

And on Thursday, the group rallies at the State Capitol in Helena with representatives of Native American tribes to honor Gov. Steve Bullock for opening year-round habitat on Horse Butte.

Seay says the group would also like to see a 1995 law, known as MCA 81-2-120 struck down.

"This is the law that places the Montana Department of Livestock in charge of wild bison when they migrate into Montana, which is basically putting the fox in charge of the henhouse,” she states. “And it's a law that needs to be repealed."

Some other wildlife conservation groups accept the need to reduce at least part of the wild bison population, but disagree with killing the animals and have been working to find other places to relocate them.

The Yellowstone buffalo were hunted almost to extinction in the 1800s. It's the largest, oldest herd in the country and is believed to have been in the area since prehistoric times.



Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT