Wild Bison Being Slaughtered

The American bison is symbolic of a time when animals roamed free and Native American peoples hunted them for their own survival.  In the mid 1800′s bison numbered 60 – 100 million, but by the end of that century, bison were nearly extinct.

The last remaining wild bison herd still existing in America today are the approximately 3,000 to 3,500 who descended from the 23 survivors of the mass bison slaughter during the second half of the nineteenth century.  They hid in the Pelican Valley of what is now Yellowstone National Park.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Yellowstone Bison Slaughter!

About 350,000 bison can be found throughout North America, but they are genetically interbred with cattle.  When bison and cattle interbreed, the offspring look like bison so they are not easily differentiated.  Bison, like cattle, are herbivores and follow grass lands to graze.

During the winter and spring, Yellowstone bison migrate out of the park in search of food to lower grounds in Montana and they give birth in the spring.  Even though the Montana lands are public, some ranchers gain permits to graze their cattle on the lands favored by the bison.

Hazing of bison is done in an effort to prevent the disease brucellosis from spreading to cattle.  Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that some bison carry.  When a bison delivers a calf and the afterbirth is ingested by a pregnant cow, it can cause the cow to abort. This is the issue Montana ranchers have with wild bison roaming in overlapping areas with cattle.

Special interest in Montana’s livestock industry has been determining what happens to Yellowstone wild bison: they are hazed back to the park or sent to slaughter.  Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund has started a Care2 petition asking U.S. Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, to stop the slaughter and protect wild bison.

There are simple ways to prevent what the ranchers fear — transmission of brucellosis to pregnant cows.  One way is to simply not allow cattle to graze on the overlapping lands until mid to late June when cows are past their fertile period.

So why are wild bison being slaughtered if other solutions are available?
Please sign the Care2 petition and tell Ken Salazar to protect our wild bison at Yellowstone Park.

Photo of wild bison and calf in Yellowstone Park, Flickr: Schmeeve


Linda C.
Linda C.5 years ago

And here we are, Jan. 12, 2011 and NOTHING has changed!! So we ALL need to keep making noise and support the "Buffalo Field Campaign" folks who were the grassroot org. to bring this to public awareness!!

jane richmond
jane richmond5 years ago

This is ridiculous!

Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson5 years ago

this sucks leave the last of the wild buffalo alone!

Judith P.


This addresses permits and fees for grazing and says they shall not be issued for more than ten years at one time. It establishes no rate of rental for use of the land, and I hope I can find the article that quoted only 10% at the most pay anything for use of the federal land for cattle grazing. It seems there should be some exception for the native animal species and their rights. Still looking.

Judith P.

The law that gives cattle some rights to graze. There is a link to see if it is current, and when I looked could find no amendments or changes to this law.

Judith P.

Adding articles as I find them. Native species like elk, etc. emit less methane than cattle on federal land. Another argument to get cattle off public land so bison, wolves and wild horses and burros can go back home and live in peace.

Judith P.

Here is a related issue about cattle using public land. As you can read that the cattle get the majority of the public land and have nearly grazed it except for sagebrush. Bison migrate and do wild horses and burros. Cattle are not migratory. Will try to find more articles to peruse.

Judith P.

The bison are being driven away from the green grass they need in the spring to feed their calves so they will grow and survive. The cattle ranchers are the ones who are instrumental in this hazing again. We need to find out what legal rights cattle ranchers have that preempt our wolves, bison, and wild horses and burros that outrank native animal species from federal public lands. I will google that , but know that Kenneth Salazar, a cattle rancher and Secretary of the Interior who also was involved in waiving safety equipment and environmental review of the Horizon Oil accident is showing partiality to ranchers. He was reported to be resigning after the elections, but not sure if that is confirmed yet. Please to to the website www.buffalofieldcampaign.org and watch the videos which show them hazing these poor infant bison with new mothers through rivers and over 13 miles in a day, injuring them as they herd them with helicopters. Just like they herd the wild horses and burros, heartless and cruel humans who should be made to run with a helicopter over their heads. There are three videos all worthy of viewing. Many bisons on Ted Turners ranch that were supposed to be returned but he is sending them off to breed and market apparently. Native Americans were supposed to get them back, more cattle ranchers games and tricks. Please folks spread this information as it must be stopped and no hazing must occur to these poor animals next Spring after they calve. They must be allo

ChanTlalok Rain C.

thanx Megan, Ahoo Wakan Tanka.

Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon6 years ago

all animals should be protected, if we don't protect them, we won't have them.