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Stop the slaughter

Dear Editor: We continue to slaughter the bison – the history lesson still has not been learned. Wild bison in Yellowstone, our nation’s first national park, are being rounded up and sent to slaughterhouses like cattle. Beginning last Wednesday, park rangers have captured 524 bison which are now being sent to slaughterhouses in Montana and Idaho.The Montana Department of Livestock claims it is slaughtering the Yellowstone bison because some carry brucellosis, which may infect domestic cattle. However, in light of a few facts, these claims ring hollow. There has never been a documented case of wild bison infecting domestic cattle with brucellosis. All bison captured and slaughtered this winter have been bulls, which are incapable of transmitting disease since the mode of bacterial transmission is via infected birthing material from aborted fetuses. Furthermore, the captured bison are no longer even being tested for brucellosis.Because the last wild herd instinctively migrates across political lines to obtain winter foraging habitat, it is persecuted due to the unfounded belief that it may infect cattle with brucellosis – cattle that are grazing on public land. This instinctive migration behavior has enabled the bison’s survival for thousands of years – now it gives political forces the ammunition to destroy our last wild bison. The bison must be able to access more of their historic winter range if we want a healthy, wild and sustainable bison population in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.You can be a positive political force for the preservation of wild bison. Please take action now. Contact Gov. Brian Schweitzer (406-444-3111) and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (307-344-2002) and express your outrage at their zero-tolerance for wild bison and their shameful participation in the wholesale slaughter of our natural heritage. Ask them to stop the slaughter. For a website that provides excellent information about bison in Yellowstone, go to buffalo@wildrockies.org. Delia MaloneAspen


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