Thursday, February 09, 2017

Hundreds of bison sent to slaughter over tribes’ objections

Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday started shipping hundreds of wild bison to slaughter for disease control, as a quarantine facility on a Montana Indian reservation that could help spare many of the animals sat empty due to a political dispute. Park officials say 15 bison initially slated for quarantine on the Fort Peck Reservation were instead loaded onto trailers and sent to slaughter. Hundreds more will be shipped in coming days. More than 400 bison, also known as buffalo, have been captured this winter attempting to migrate out of the snow-covered park to lower elevations in Montana in search of food. More animals are expected to be captured and shipped to slaughter through March. Fort Peck’s Assiniboine and Sioux tribes built their quarantine facility near Wolf Point, Montana, with enough room for 300 animals in hopes of using it to establish new herds across the U.S with Yellowstone’s genetically pure bison. Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure said state and federal officials “slapped the Fort Peck tribes in the face” by not using the facility. “They knew we were building a quarantine facility. A lot of money and time and effort were involved in this and all of a sudden they throw a monkey wrench in it,” Azure said. Montana livestock officials oppose transferring bison to the quarantine site because the animals have not been certified to be free of brucellosis, a disease that can cause animals to abort their young. Ranchers in the state fear bison could transmit the disease to cattle and would pose competition for grazing space on public lands...more

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