Trapping and slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone bison begins

Josh Hafner

Yellowstone National Park officials started trapping bison Monday as part of an annual effort to kill hundreds of the area’s iconic animals through hunting or shipment to slaughterhouses.

Government agencies aim to drive down the bison population by as many as 900 this year to reduce the mammals’ centuries-old migration beyond the park’s boundaries and into Montana, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

A plan calls for eventually culling bison in the park from about 5,000 down to 3,000.

Efforts to winnow the bison’s migration came after fears from Montana ranchers and landowners that the bison may vie with cattle for grazing space or transmit disease, according to the Associated Press.

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About half of Yellowstone’s bison have been exposed to brucellosis, an animal disease that causes abortion in cattle, AP reports. There are no recorded cases of it moving from bison to cattle.

“There is recognition by both disease regulators and wildlife managers that the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle is minute,” the National Park Service told Vice magazine last year.

In 1995, Montana sued the National Park Service over bison migration into the state. The settlement created a plan requiring hundreds of bison to be captured and killed each year.

A record-high 1,726 bison were captured in the park in 2008, according to AP, with most sent to slaughterhouses.

Meat and hides from the slaughtered bison are distributed among members of Native American Tribes, according to the National Park Service.

In 1902, the herd of bison in Yellowstone dwindled to as low as 23. The park now counts near-record levels of its bison, according to AP, which biologists cherish as genetically pure.

While hunters had killed more than 300 bison as of Sunday, the Chronicle reported, the park said it wasn’t enough to negate the need for regular capture and slaughter.

“We understand that many people are uncomfortable with the practice of capture and slaughter—we are too, so we’re looking for additional alternatives,” the Park Service said in a guide to the controversy on its site.

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Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on Feb. 12, 2011.© Ted S. Warren, AP Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on

10 thoughts on “Trapping and slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone bison begins

  1. The story of human/bison relationship has been hideous. People killed bison by the millions to make way for westward settlement and get the land for cattle. Destroying the bison was also a way to end Plains Indian lifestyle. Finally, only a few wild bison were left in Yellowstone Park that constituted the genetic remnants of the wild herds.

    So now the cattlemen and hunters still want to kill the bison. They barely set a hoof out of Yellowstone, and there is someone there gunning for them. Aside from that, the hazing and capturing of the bison are just as ugly as the hazing and capture of the wild horses. And if you want to see a sad and sickening sight, try to find pictures of a bison jammed into a holding container, battered from the capture, head stuck between side panels, bloody ring through his/her nose, and then the transport vehicle with the unfortunate animal on the way to slaughter. Ah,yes, H. sapiens at work.

  2. Ugh. I detest this. Must we forever behave like the evil overseers and slave drivers of this nation? When will enough be enough? Must we always (try) to prove superiority? It’s so awful.

  3. This all boils down to OUR overpopulation of this planet. The animals are doing what Nature, or God, depending on what you believe, intended. Migration is a cycle of the earth’s normal natural events. Who are we to alter any of that. Maybe we should be realistic and give them room to roam. Just like man to choose genocide. Pathetic race we are.

  4. God damn shame these poor babies! It’s not the animals that need some f*cking control, we need to cull our population! I know it sounds a bit disturbing but really what are we doing about human overpopulation?!?!?!

  5. Pingback: Trapping and slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone bison begins – Making Waves Outreach

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