Reps. Maurice Hinchey and Charles Bass Call for End to Yellowstone Buffalo Slaughter

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   May 18, 2005
Contact:   Elise Russell, NPCA, 202-454-3391


Reps. Maurice Hinchey and Charles Bass Call for End to Yellowstone Buffalo Slaughter

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association today praised Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) for their leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to protect America’s last wild and genetically pure buffalo. The Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act of 2005 is an admirable effort to treat bison as wildlife and to produce a sensible change to the absurd policy of hazing, capturing, and killing buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park.

“The Yellowstone buffalo herd should have the freedom to roam our federal lands like any other wildlife,” said Congressman Hinchey, who serves on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. “The current policy of hazing and slaughtering these majestic animals is unnecessary and shameful. My legislation will put an end to these misguided management practices and ensure that our federal agencies act as proper stewards of this wildlife icon.” In the 108th Congress, the Hinchey-Bass bill had 104 cosponsors.

In winter and early spring months over the past two decades, some 4,000 Yellowstone buffalo have been slaughtered to minimize the possibility of disease transmission to cattle. Buffalo can carry brucellosis, a disease that poses little risk to them. In recent years the Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service have supported the Montana Department of Livestock in the hazing, roundup, and slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo, costing taxpayers and the underfunded Park Service millions of dollars. Yet there has never been a confirmed incidence of brucellosis transmission in the wild from buffalo to cattle. Acknowledging that the American buffalo has profound ecological, cultural, historical, and symbolic significance to the United States, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act is an important effort to change this wasteful policy.

“Spending millions in federal dollars to persecute the Yellowstone buffalo herd year after year is wasteful, irrational, and shameful. These buffalo are symbols of America’s wildlife and should be preserved, yet they are being needlessly slaughtered on the land intended to protect them,” said Congressman Bass. “Our bill would put an end to this unwarranted and cruel practice and guarantee that these majestic animals will grace the American landscape for years to come.”

“Yellowstone’s buffalo are an American icon that thrill tens of thousands of national park visitors every year. People find it inconceivable that this symbol of the American west is routinely slaughtered for simply roaming onto public lands next to Yellowstone National Park,” said NPCA Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey. “These members of Congress are offering important leadership to foster responsible, common-sense changes to a senseless policy of slaughtering an American icon.”

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