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Bison Removal In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protests

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Plans by Yellowstone National Park officials to remove roughly 1,000 bison from the park's herds are drawing criticisms and protests from groups that say the slaughter is unnecessary.

A month ago Yellowstone officials announced the culling plan, which Defenders of Wildlife officials say will be "the largest in seven years" if it achieves the goal of removing 1,000 bison. In addition to the 500-600 bison that head outside the park and into Montana being removed by park staff, it is anticipated that public and tribal treaty hunting in Montana will remove 300 to 400 bison. Park crews began rounding up bison Thursday.

"America's last wild buffalo are right now being trapped for slaughter along Yellowstone's northern boundary. These capture for slaughter operations are happening even as state and treaty hunters are shooting buffalo that migrate into Montana," the Buffalo Field Campaign wrote on its website. "Such management actions are driven by Montana's bison-intolerant livestock industry, intolerance that is codified in the statute: MCA 81-2-120, a law crafted by the livestock industry that needs to be repealed."

At Defenders, the group said "(T)his capture and slaughter program, implemented by the National Park Service, is meant to keep the Yellowstone bison population below an arbitrary cap of 3,500, imposed decades ago as part of a settlement with the state of Montana for now discredited concerns over brucellosis and carrying capacity."

The wildlife advocacy group also said a poll of Montana residents last month found that 67 percent of those contacted support relocating Yellowstone bison to start herds elsewhere in their state. 

"(Montana) Governor (Steve) Bullock and the National Park Service need to move quickly to bring bison management into the 21st century," the group's release said. "They need to expand the tolerance zone around Yellowstone, finish their environmental assessment of the quarantine and relocation program and kick-start plans to update the 14-year old Interagency Bison Management Plan, the document that sets guidelines for managing Yellowstone’s wild bison."

Jonathan Proctor, Defenders' program director for the Rockies and Plains, said that, “(B)ison are wildlife and should be managed as such. Wholesale slaughter of these genetically valuable animals simply because they leave Yellowstone National Park looking for food is archaic and driven by policies that treat them like livestock. Rather than working towards Montanans’ goal of wild bison restoration, this shipment to slaughter program kills the bison that could, instead, be the beginnings of new restoration herds.”

“We’ve proved that bison restoration from Yellowstone to Montana’s public and tribal lands is viable, making this shipment to slaughter wasteful, unacceptable and unnecessary. Recent polls also clearly show that the majority of Montanans want wild bison restoration. So, why are the National Park Service and Montana’s Department of Livestock continuing to implement this unnecessary and expensive slaughter program? It’s a waste of taxpayer funds, and a waste of prized Yellowstone wild bison.”

Comments

Why not expand Yellowstone National Park to include all the bison wintering range north of the current park boundary? 


hikertom,

You are absolutely right. We need to expand Yellowstone, not only to include bison wintering range, but also to encompass critical wolf and grizzly habitats adjacent to the park. Most of these lands are already public, and could be augmented by public acquisition of key private lands. An expanded national park would phase out livestock grazing, the biggest threat to all of these species, and halt the cruel and destructive hunting and trapping of wolves.


What is especially galling is that the cattle ranchers using our public land for personal use are able to influence laws deciding what happens to our bison and to the use of the land. Personal use of public lands in this way should be stopped. That land belongs to the American public and I would imagine most would rather have bison and wolves roaming on it rather than cattle?


I would imagine most would rather have bison and wolves roaming on it rather than cattle?

Not if their ground beef is going to be $20 a pound.  Who benefits from cattle/sheep grazing on leased public lands?  The consumer.


How many readers remember  Selling off the Promised Land  ?

 

 

 

The church bought the Royal Teton Ranch in 1981 from publishing tycoon Malcolm Forbes for $7 million, intending to use it as a religious retreat. Francis estimates the ranch`s current value, with improvements, at $20 million.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD FOR BISON: Royal Teton Ranch

 

...Church members and locals in Park and Gallatin counties shop in each others' stores, play sports together, serve on the same committees...

The church says it wants to remove cattle from its ranch and welcome some of Yellowstone's wandering bison...

That would reverse its decade-long policy of no tolerance for bison, one that meant hundreds of the shaggy giants were slaughtered by the state when the animals sought their natural winter range.
 
 

 

 

 

 


Who benefits from cattle/sheep grazing on leased public lands? The consumer.

Livestock grazed on public lands provides little benefit to consumers, at a very high ecological and financial cost.

First, public land grazing provides only about 4 percent of U.S. livestock production. Completely phasing out public land livestock grazing would have a minimal impact on food production.

Second, taxpayers are heavily subsidizing public lands grazing. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that the federal government spends at least $144 million each year in direct costs, managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands. However, this returns  only $21 million in grazing fees collected — for a net loss of at least $123 million per year.

Third, BLM and Forest Service grazing programs incur huge indirect costs to promote grazing or to mitigate the massive damage done to watersheds, ecosystems, and wildlife by grazing. The cost to taxpayers to fund these programs has been estimated at roughly $500 annually.

Finally, of the millions of dollars each year in taxpayer subsidies, approximately $8 million is dedicated to killing native predators that inconvenience public land ranchers. Native predators on public lands that are regularly killed for the benefit of the livestock industry include wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, bears, foxes, bobcats, and badgers.

I think that if most consumers knew what a high price — both ecologically and financially — they are paying for the minescule benefits of public land livestock grazing, they would say, "no thanks."


First, public land grazing provides only about 4 percent of U.S. livestock production.

 

According to this source - http://westernwatersheds.org/watmess/watmess_2002/2002html_summer/articl... - there are 788 million acres of US land that have livestock grazing.  449 million of those are federal lands.  It is tough to believe that 57% of the grazed land mass is contributing only 4% of the beef. 

Second, taxpayers are heavily subsidizing public lands grazing.

And who is benefiting from that subsidy?  Consumers.

The cost to taxpayers to fund these programs has been estimated at roughly $500 annually.

I assume you mean $500 million.  Which would be less than $2 a person.  Not to mention those costs would also be incurred if the grazing were on private land.

I think that if most consumers knew what a high price — both ecologically and financially — they are paying for the minescule benefits of public land livestock grazing, they would say, "no thanks."

I doubt it.  Most consumers prefer their hamburgers over badgers. 


Remember, EC, the BLM lands are the leftovers, and are not primary grazing lands. Most barely support one animal per 40 acres, as the entirety of Nevada, for example.


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