May 20, 2005 – Activists working to protect the countryâ€™s last remaining wild buffalo are applauding the reintroduction of a US House measure that would end the hazing, capture and killing of Yellowstone bison.
According to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the government has slaughtered about 4,000 buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park over the past two decades. Federal and state agencies have spent millions of dollars in their efforts to stem the spread of the disease brucellosis from the wild buffalo to local cattle. NPCA claims, however, that there have been no confirmed cases of the disease being transmitted to cattle.
Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-New York) and Representative Charles Bass (R-New Hampshire) reintroduced the Hinchey-Bass bill Wednesday to end the annual round-ups of the wild Yellowstone bison. The measure had 104 sponsors in the 108th Congress.
The legislative attempt is not the only initiative to protect the buffalo. Each year, volunteer activists with the Buffalo Field Campaign in Montana spend days with the bison, documenting their slaughter and protecting them through nonviolent civil disobedience.
The number of bison roaming the American West was once estimated at up to 60 million. Because of mass slaughters in the late 1800s, their numbers dwindled to just a few thousand. Today, NPCA estimates that there are only 16,000 wild, genetically pure bison left, and that those at Yellowstone represent the only herds roaming truly free.