Park Service Prepares to Kill Hundreds of Wild Bison; Montana Governor Grants Reprieve
Friday, February 18, 2011
(photo: Jack Dykinga, Wikipedia)
Stepping into the middle of a political fight between conservationists and ranchers, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has blocked the impending slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone National Park bison. The Democratic governor said he took action to force the U.S. Department of the Interior to do something about bison infected with brucellosis, a disease that also can affect domestic cattle.
The National Park Service planned to slaughter hundreds of bison after a federal judge approved a plan opposed by a collection of environmental organizations. But Schweitzer signed an executive order prohibiting the importation of park bison into Montana for 90 days, which effectively blocked all potential routes out of the park to slaughter plants in Montana and neighboring states.
Schweitzer contends the bison can spread brucellosis to cows, which causes females to prematurely abort their young. No bison-to-cattle transmissions have actually been recorded, however.
The disease has been confined mostly to Yellowstone’s wildlife after the cattle industry worked to eradicate it from domestic herds.
Montana Gov. Blocks Yellowstone Bison Slaughter (by Matthew Brown, Associated Press)
Park Service Can Proceed to Kill Wayward Bison (by Travis Sanford, Courthouse News Service)
Western Watersheds Project et al. v. Ken Salazar (U.S. District Court, Montana) (pdf)
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