The Force of the Horse

Our National Mammal Under Fire: Bison Slaughter

by the Buffalo Field Campaign

“Here at Wild Horse Freedom Federation our primary concerns lie with the government’s full blown assault against our free roaming wild horse and burros on public lands and trust me, that in itself is a full time job.  But with that being said we are not blind to the similar plights of other fellow passengers on Spaceship Earth such as whales, dolphins, wolves, coyotes and in the case of this information Bison.

Right now, there is massive concern over what is happening to the wild Bison in Yellowstone and the information below speaks to this issue.  We share this story, not to dilute our work with the wild equines but to further demonstrate the abject stupidity of government be it local, state or federal.  It is a shame that the court system does not allow us the capability to sue such entities for the simple cause of just being “STUPID”.  If that were possible the courts would be clogged beyond imagination and I would be first in line with case in hand.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

The horror of what is happening daily to these buffalo families are events that could fill thousands of pages…

2017-01-26-02-003-mourning-bfcsesay2017800The very same government who declared the American bison our National Mammal with such pomp and ceremony is hell bent on destroying the last wild, migratory population. Approximately 190 Yellowstone buffalo have been trapped by Yellowstone National Park employees who wear the image of buffalo on their badges. These and hundreds more of the world’s most beloved and important buffalo are destined to be reduced to meat within the cold walls of slaughterhouses. Just this week, however, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order prohibiting Yellowstone from moving buffalo through Montana to slaughter until Yellowstone finds a “temporary home” for the forty young buffalo who have been held captive in Yellowstone’s trap since last February. These buffalo don’t need a “temporary home.” They have a home, the Yellowstone Ecosystem, where they roamed freely until last winter. While this executive order may stall the slaughter, it will not prevent it, and will likely result in the nearly 200 buffalo who have been captured for slaughter being confined in the trap for a longer period of time.  This is a game of political chess being played with the sacred buffalo used as pawns in an attempt to push a quarantine (domestication) plan through. Quarantine is not a solution, and does not prevent slaughter; it is part of the larger problem of control and manipulation of wild, migratory buffalo which results in buffalo being repeatedly tested, many slaughtered, and survivors living behind fences until they are reduced to meat or die in captivity.  Some quarantined buffalo have even been sent to zoos. Yellowstone’s trap serves a livestock model paradigm — quarantine and slaughter — and is an extreme danger to these wild gentle giants, the last of their kind. Buffalo who are able to evade capture by slipping past the trap face another imminent danger just a mile north of the trap at Yellowstone’s north boundary, and also along the park’s west boundary, in tiny portions of southwest Montana where so-called hunting is taking place. At least 185 buffalo have been stopped dead in their tracks with bullets. By the time you read this, that number will likely have risen.

he horror of what is happening daily to these buffalo families are events that could fill thousands of pages, and while we can’t share every detail, here is some of what has been happening to the buffalo:

The other morning we supported a solitary bull buffalo who was walking along dangerous part of U.S. 191. Following at a safe distance with our hazards on, we stayed with him to warn traffic. There is so much snow piled up on the sides that it is very difficult for any buffalo to vacate the highway, so on he went. Unfortunately, a group of passing state hunters spotted him too, and they immediately positioned their truck just ahead of the bull, moving at his speed, their exhaust blowing in his face. This part of the highway runs through Gallatin National Forest, so the hunters only needed to get him to move a few feet off the road in order to kill him. Their opportunity came when he got spooked by a passing vehicle. The bull jumped into the snowbank and the hunters — if you can call them that —  parked their truck (illegally, it turns out) and the man with the tag grabbed his rifle and post-holed though the deep snow after him. We mistakenly thought they needed to be much further off the road before they could shoot, and we told them so. They yelled at us, saying we were interfering, and the man with the rifle screamed “I’ve waited fifty-seven years for this!” and pressed on, trudging a few more feet after the bull who had moved a little deeper into the tree line. But the bull got away. At least for the moment. Authorities arrived and gave the hunters a warning for parking illegally, and asked us to move on. We were elated in thinking that this handsome bull who had struggled so hard to just walk down the road had escaped with his life. Disaster narrowly averted. Or so we thought. Afternoon patrols took over, and when they came home they shared the bad news that the hunter had gone after the bull again, shooting and injuring him without pursuing him. Instead he sat in the warmth of the truck waiting for him to emerge from the forest. How could the hunter anticipate where the wounded buffalo might go and how could he not pursue him? The bull did emerge again, limping. He kept falling and getting up, disoriented and badly hurt. He was heading down a road that leads to the town dump, where he could not legally be shot. Authorities arrived, and, because the bull was so badly wounded, the hunter was given special permission to kill him in the road. He took four shots at close range to finally end the life of this bull he had injured earlier…(CONTINUED)

2 replies »

  1. Take Action Petition and Letter

    Using the sample letter below please contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock and urge him to do everything in his power to repeal MCA 81-2-120 and endorse a new alternative that manages wild bison like wild elk in Montana, using the best available science that takes all changed circumstance into consideration. Please also take a moment to thank Governor Bullock for standing up to the livestock industry and granting wild buffalo year-round habitat on Horse Butte! Horse Butte is something Buffalo Field Campaign has been fighting for for nearly twenty years. It’s a small first step, and just the beginning, but a huge victory for America’s last wild buffalo and shows the Governor Bullock is listening!

    MONTANA RESIDENTS: Human contact is needed with Governor Bullock. In addition to emailing him, please make a phone call, hand write a letter, or visit Governor Steve Bullock’s office in the Capital of the rotunda in Helena. Phone calls, hand written letters, and walk-ins are far more effective and we need to be as effective as possible in what we do.

    Montana Governor Steve Bullock
    Office of the Governor
    Montana State Capitol Building
    P.O. Box 200801
    Helena, MT 59620-0801
    Phone: 1-406-444-3111
    Fax: 1-406-444 5529
    Website form:

    Petition Letter

    Bison have been declared America’s national mammal, yet this honorable designation offers no protections for the country’s last continuously wild herds, the Yellowstone population. I care deeply about wild bison and want to see them restored naturally in Montana.

    I first want to take this opportunity to say thank you for granting wild buffalo year-round habitat on Horse Butte. This first step is a significant victory, and bison advocates are very much aware how difficult it can be to stand up to the livestock industry — thank you for your courage and leadership!

    Horse Butte is just the beginning. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to restore wild, migratory bison in their native Montana.

    Most importantly, we need your help to repeal MCA 81-2-120, the law that gives the Department of Livestock authority over wild bison. Having the DOL in charge of wild bison is a serious and direct conflict of interest.

    The highly controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) and all related mismanagement schemes would not exist if it weren’t for MCA 81-2-120. The new bison management plan being currently developed essentially mirrors the IBMP and holds little to no benefit for wild bison.

    I urge you to endorse a new alternative that manages wild bison like wild elk in Montana, using the best available science that takes all changed circumstance into consideration.

    Here is an outline of the alternative that I support and strongly urge you to endorse:

    Please help repeal MCA 81-2-120 and also endorse this meaningful bison management plan alternative.

    Thank you for your consideration and thank you again for granting bison year-round habitat on Horse Butte! Montana stands in a unique position to demonstrate meaningful honor and respect for America’s national mammal by helping restore wild, migratory buffalo.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Liked by 1 person

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