Wild Buffalo Abused for eating grass “meant” for cattle raised for food in the Hebgen Basin
MEAT EATERS HAVE NO IDEA HOW FAR AND WIDE THEIR CHOICES REACH TO DAMAGE THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT JUST WANT TO LIVE THEIR LIVES, RAISE THEIR CHILDREN AND BE LEFT ALONE. They are harassed to keep them from grazing on the grass that cows raised for food eat. So the buffalo are harassed and slaughtered to keep them from eating the grass that the ranchers want their cows who are raised for food to eat. Just so meat eaters can have their steak or hamburger. Pretty disgusting if you ask me!
BFC (Buffalo Field Campaign) has witnessed two hazing operations in the past week, both targeting wild buffalo who migrated to the South Fork / Denny Creek area of the Hebgen Basin.
This portion of the Basin south of the Madison River is currently a “no tolerance” zone for wild buffalo. Last Thursday, a total of forty-seven adults including pregnant females and juveniles, along with eight newborn calves (some born just yesterday) were pushed off of their chosen ground. Six riders, three with the Montana Department of Livestock and three with Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, did the dirty work. They were assisted by two Gallatin County Sheriffs and our new game warden. The buffalo were not having any of it. They immediately took off from the riders at a dead run and got the attention of another group of nineteen buffalo (including two big bulls who we were concerned about getting shot) and while the 47 took off in one direction, the 19 took off in another, never to be seen again. The agents were left in the dust. The 47 kept running right down the Madison Arm Road along Gallatin National Forest. After a few miles, they ducked off deep into the woods. It seemed the hazing was over when the agents loaded up their horses, but a few miles down the Madison Arm Road, they pulled over and unloaded again.
They eventually found the buffalo in the woods and proceeded to chase them along the road, down to the lake shore, back onto the road, and back down to the shore. From here they made them swim across and go up to the Northwest Bluffs of the Madison River, where they are allowed to be. It was a long, hot day for the buffalo and BFC patrols. The calves were exhausted, and hopefully, they are now resting. Afternoon patrols are keeping an eye on them. BFC was all over this hazing operation and didn’t miss a thing. Here are a few snapshots from the day. And there’s not a single domestic cow on the land they were hazed from, most of which is public land. All of this is paid for with your federal tax dollars.
Buffalo again returned to the area later that afternoon but no actions were taken against them until the following Tuesday. It seems that the “serious threat” of brucellosis transmission that Montana livestock interests use to harass and kill wild buffalo is only a concern Tuesday through Thursday, and never after 5 pm, when it’s time to clock out and take a long weekend.
Tuesday’s haze was conducted by the Department of Livestock, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The hazers started bullying twenty-seven adult buffalo and six newborn calves and found a few more along the way, so it ended with a total of thirty-nine adults and juveniles and six newborn calves. Like last week, the hazers had another challenging time with it. The buffalo took off, again leaving them in the dust and heading straight for thick timber, where the agents lost them for at least an hour. While they searched, a huge thunderstorm rolled in, dropping heavy rain and hail, soaking the bullies.
A while later, the cowpokes found them and pushed them through cattle-free public lands of Gallatin National Forest, over tons of fallen trees (very hard for the wee calves to navigate) to the Madison Arm Road, down to the Madison River, back up to the road, then back down to the river (sound familiar?), forcing them across to the northwest bluffs where they finally left them alone. But the agents weren’t done. They headed over to Red Canyon, site of the only summer cattle ranch in the buffalo’s year-round habitat, where there currently are no cows. The agents attempted to haze a family of eight adult buffalo and one new calf. The agents found themselves on the wrong side of the fence from the buffalo so they couldn’t get to them. As they moseyed back to try to find their way around to the buffalo, one of the riders was bucked off his horse and the buffalo, having seen the riders, were already gone. The new MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks game warden drove out to the buffalo’s location and proceeded to fire off cracker rounds (explosives fired from a shotgun) to try to scare them further. The buffalo walked just a few more yards, over to land where they are allowed to be, but the cowpokes went after them anyway, on foot (a first!), hootin’ and hollarin’, and firing cracker rounds. All but four buffalo swam across the water to the Narrows Peninsula of Horse Butte, and after that, the bullies finally left.
TAKE ACTION! Help us end hazing (and slaughter). Call Montana Governor Steve Bullock and tell him to work with the legislature to repeal MCA 81-2-120, the law that puts authority over wild buffalo in Montana into the nefarious hands of the Montana Department of Livestock, and to endorse a plan that respects wild bison like wild elk in Montana. #406-444-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!
This was a piece done by George Wuerthner in January of this year but very relevant today and so incredibly heart wrenching.
“Again, the Feds team up with Welfare Ranchers to destroy and slaughter yet another species of America’s wild four legged National Heritage” ~ R.T.
It reflects badly on the people of Montana that they tolerate this annual slaughter to go on. It also exhibits poor judgment on the part of hunters, tribal members, and others who participate or sanction this crime against nature and our national patrimony.
Yellowstone’s bison herd is one of the few bison herds in the country free of cattle genes, and one of the only bison herds that have remained continuously wild. There is genuine aesthetic and ecological value in wildness. But by slaughtering Yellowstone’s bison (or to use the clinically sanitized term “culling”), we are destroying Yellowstone’s wild bison.
The park’s bison have gone through several genetic bottlenecks. At one time, the population numbered 25 animals. And previous years of slaughter and capture/shipment by the livestock industry and others outside of the park means the park’s bison have gone through repeated genetic reductions. Last year, for instance, 600 bisons were killed.
This is made worse by the fact that bison are a tournament species, whereby dominant bulls do the majority of all breeding. This means the “effective” breeding population is much lower than the actual population numbers and, as a result so is the genetic diversity.
For transmission to occur, a bison with active bacteria would have to abort her fetus. Then cattle would have to lick the aborted fetus or its fluid during the short time when the bacteria is still alive and before scavengers like coyotes, ravens and magpies find the dead fetus and consume it. Bison bulls and calves are regularly killed, demonstrating the fraudulent reasoning behind the bison slaughter.
Cattle can be vaccinated against the disease, and when combined with other strategies like preventing the overlap of bison and cattle use of pastures, the risk can be contained and is negligible.
What the livestock industry really fears is the spread of bison on public lands. Bison and cattle consume nearly the same foods. What the livestock industry wants to avoid is a debate over whether public bison or private cattle should get preferential access to public lands forage.
The other reason is that the livestock industry wants domination over our public wildlife. The control they exert over bison is part of a larger goal of controlling other wildlife species, including elk.
Killing Yellowstone’s bison is artificially skewing the bison herd to a younger age, and removing the natural processes of predation, starvation, and other factors that normally affect these animals.
The state of Montana is particularly culpable in the continued destruction of the park’s wild bison. The state has outlawed the shipping of live bison outside of a small zone except for transfer to slaughterhouses. This policy makes it impossible to relocate bison to other suitable public lands in Montana or to Indian reservations that want to start bison herds of their own.
Yellowstone’s wild bison must be recognized as a valued wildlife animal in Montana and throughout the West. Its unique genetic heritage is worthy of protection. We have a moral obligation to enhance and expand Yellowstone’s bison to the American West.