Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park
Here's a novel solution to the woes Montana's livestock industry suffers from elk and bison in Yellowstone National Park: Kill them all. Yup, that's the panacea being promoted by an Oklahoma newspaper.
In an editorial published Monday, the Norman Transcript says the slaughter of the park's elk and bison is a logical solution to the spread of brucellosis, which can cause infected cattle to abort their fetuses. While the newspaper's scribes say the domestic livestock industry has come close to eradicating the disease, it adds that "the biggest impediment to total eradication is the presence of disease in the elk and bison herds in Yellowstone Park."
"If these wild beasts were miraculously turned into cattle, privately owned, there is no doubt we collectively, would require that the herds be eradicated ... slaughtered. Matter of fact, the law would demand it."
And then there's this passage:
No one disputes the grandeur, tradition and emotional connection of these mighty beasts to the West, but they have now become sickened. Typhoid Marys of the Range. Beautiful Yellowstone Park now stands as a pustule disseminating disease like Old Faithful spewing its sulfurous water, every time an infected cow elk or buffalo drops an aborted fetus.
Now, the newspaper doesn't mention that domestic cattle transmitted brucellosis to the park's elk and bison in the first place. And it doesn't touch on the elk and bison in nearby Grand Teton National Park. Nor does it detail how such a killing program would be carried out. After all, many of the estimated 30,000 elk that summer in Yellowstone also disperse into the surrounding forests in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. How would anyone know when all the brucellosis-infected elk are dead?
Nor does the paper mention any cost estimates of such a slaughter, nor any that might involve keeping domestic cattle out of elk and bison grazing areas or tied to development of a workable vaccine. And the paper doesn't mention how, once all the elk and bison are killed and replaced with disease-free elk and bison, brucellosis would not be retransmitted to them from cattle.
No, without fretting the details the paper sees this solution as a no-brainer, a cure-all. Once the slaughter is complete, the park could be repopulated with healthy bison and elk, it says.
"So in 10 years or so, the USDA might be able to say with some credibility, that the United States is Brucellosis Free. And all of us would say, "It's about time." it concludes.