When last we left the issue of free-roaming bison in Yellowstone National Park, there was controversy over how the animals were being "hazed" back into the park from a place called the Horse Butte Peninsula in Montana. Now the Montana Stockgrowers Association has gone to court to force the hazing to follow a more rigid schedule, even though no cattle are grazed on the land in question.
In a somewhat interesting twist on how sides in this sort of case break down, environmental organizations were teamed with the Montana Department of Livestock earlier this week during a hearing over the Interagency Bison Management Plan requirement that bison be off the peninsula by May 15. While the livestock department views that as sort of "soft" deadline to meet, the stockgrowers association wants it adhered to.
Another irony of this debate is that no cattle are grazed on the peninsula, and so there's no chance that any bison infected with brucellosis, a disease that can cause the spontaneous abortion of fetuses in cattle, can be transmitted to cattle. Additionally, there has been no documented case of a bison-to-cattle transmission, although there have been suspected transmissions from elk to livestock.
The judge took the matter under consideration.