FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again

Bison, Greater Yellowstone. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

State, federal and tribal representatives voted again to slaughter 600-900 Yellowstone Park bison this winter. The agencies and tribes use the less offensive sounding euphemism “cull”. But let’s be honest, what happens is nothing more than butchery done to appease the livestock industry.

It is shameful that these agencies and tribes legitimize the annual butchery of our national animal based on the phony excuse that bison “might” transmit brucellosis to livestock.

Brucellosis is a disease that can cause abortions in cattle. Yet thus far the only documented transmission of brucellosis to cattle has been from elk.

The removal of bison from the Yellowstone ecosystem has many ecological ramifications. Reducing the bison number means there are fewer weak or winter-kill animals for predators and scavengers be they wolves, grizzlies, fox, ravens, and coyotes.

Hunting with modern weapons, spotting scopes and other paraphernalia of the “hunt” distorts evolution. Native predators and harsh winter remove the less fit animals, but modern hunters make no distinctions and frequently kill the most genetically healthy animals.

Because the Yellowstone bison have been continuously wild, they a product of the evolutionary forces of harsh winters, predators, and disease.  They are genetically unique.

But how do we treat these unique animals? Do we honor their evolutionary heritage? Do we treat them with respect and as a national treasure?

Instead of acknowledging the unique attributes of the Yellowstone bison, we slaughter them like so many rats.

The present “hunt” is ethically questionable. The hunters gather on the border of the park and slay any bison unfortunate enough to step beyond the invisible park boundary. There is nothing honorable about what occurs.

It is particularly disturbing that the tribes are participating in this annual carnage. In a sense, they are doing to bison what the American manifest destiny did to them—using bullets as a fence, they are confining bison to a wildlife “reservation.”

There is no reason why bison should not migrate and occupy other public lands surrounding Yellowstone Park.

Rather than continuously remove bison from Yellowstone by hunting, this rare genetic stock should be transplanted to other suitable habitat like the Missouri Breaks National Monument/Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, the Green River/ Red Desert of Wyoming, North Park of Colorado, the INL/Craters of the Moon/Snake River Plain in Idaho, among other suitable sites.

These Yellowstone bison are part of our national patrimony.  It is time we treat them as such.

More articles by:

George Wuerthner has published 36 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. He serves on the board of the Western Watersheds Project.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
January 29, 2020
Jefferson Morley
Weakest Link: Impeachment and National Security
Peter Lackowski
Venezuela, January 2020: Hardship and Resistance
Kenneth Surin
BoJo Johnson’s Brexit Fantasies
Ron Jacobs
The Swamp That Trump Built
Scott Corey
A Different Impeachment
Peter Cohen
How to Survive this Election
Manuel García, Jr.
Mutually Assured Madness: Immunity to the 25th Amendment
John Kendall Hawkins
Soviet Hippies: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side
Chandra Muzaffar
The International Court of Justice and the Rohingyas
John Grant
Iran is Not Responsible for US Deaths in Iraq
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The World Demands Us Out of the Middle East
Shawn Fremstad
Marital-Status Discrimination Reduces Fertility in China
Lawrence Wittner
Could the Climate Crisis be “The Good News of Damnation”?
Tom Engelhardt
The Fate of the Earth (See Page Five)
Myles Hoenig
Why the Green Party isn’t the Problem
January 28, 2020
Patrick Cockburn
China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Reminds Me of the Irish Polio Epidemic I Survived
P. Sainath
Making Rebellion Attractive: Why the Establishment Still Hates John Reed
Geoff Dutton
Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?
Sam Pizzigati
The Evolution of “Davos Man” into . . . Trump Fan!
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Truth a Major Casualty of Impeachment Hearings
Michael Welton
Autobiographical Roots of Habermas’ Thought
Greta Anderson
Remove the Livestock, Not the Wolves
Nick Pemberton
Sorry Chomsky and Friends, The Green Party isn’t the Problem
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Feeble Phase 1 China-US Trade Deal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Natural Gas Pipeline Corridor Threatens Imperiled Species and Inventoried Roadless Areas
Daniel Falcone
Make America Radical Again: A Conversation with Harvey J. Kaye
Binoy Kampmark
Split Hearings: the Assange Extradition Case Drags On
Eric Toussaint
Greece: a Chronology From January 25, 2015 to 2019
Nino Pagliccia
An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau on Venezuela
Robert Hunziker
Reflections of a Scientific Humanist
Jeffrey St. Clair
Who Cares If It Leaks? An Afternoon at Hollyhock House
January 27, 2020
Peter Harrison
Adani and the Purpose of Education
Dean Baker
Can Manufacturing Workers Take Many More of Trump’s Trade “Victories”?
Robert Fisk
Trump in Davos: US isolationism is Reaching Its Final Narcissistic Chapter
Ariel Dorfman
The Challenge for Chile and the World
Victor Grossman
The Misuses of Antisemitism in the UK and the USA
Thomas Knapp
Bernie Sanders, Joe Rogan, Human Rights Campaign, and Truth in Advertising
Fred Gardner
NewsGuard Can Save You From Putin!
Lawrence Wittner
A Historian Reflects on the Return of Fascism
Rose Miriam Elizalde
Cuba: a Matter of Principle
Bob Topper
The Better Moral Creed
George Wuerthner
Giving Cover to the Abuses of Big Ag
Christopher Packham
This is Really Happening
Negin Owliaei
Americans Need to Hear More From Iranians, Here’s Where to Start
Ted Rall
Corporate Crap That Doesn’t Kill Bernie
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail