Yellowstone bison: The road to slaughter starts at home

Kathleen Stachowski   Other Nations

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A young wild bison, separated from family, forlorn and frightened, is confined in a sorting pen at Yellowstone National Park’s capture facility. Click for photo credit & info.

(Please see 3/10/16 update in comments section.)

The specter of death hovers over the world’s first national park. Approximately 150 wild bison have been rounded up within the boundaries of their ostensible refuge, Yellowstone National Park, and are being held in a capture facility–also located within park boundaries. They number among those who will be killed and those already killed this season–as many as 900–and they’re slated for shipment to slaughter–perhaps as soon as the week of March 7th. However, before they make that final migration, they’ll be further terrorized. Watch what transpires (see video) when these massive, wild animals of wide open spaces are confined in small capture pens and squeeze chutes: witness their terror; see how they injure themselves and their herd mates–observe the gaping wounds and the indignities endured before they’re crammed into livestock carriers for the terrifying ride to industrialized death.  Continue reading

Of bison and betrayal

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Perfectly formed–just weeks from birth–a bison calf fetus still attached to the womb is discarded by treaty hunters and left with mom’s gut pile just north of Yellowstone. Buffalo Field Campaign photo; click image.

Kathleen Stachowski   Other Nations

Anyone who’s ever carried a wild bison’s heart into a governor’s office belongs to a small and select club. James St. Goddard, a Blackfeet spiritual leader from Montana, is the latest inductee, and–for all I know–the only member. Mr. St. Goddard appeared at the state capitol earlier this month to protest the latest twist in the ongoing injustice that passes for wild bison management in Montana: Tribal people, hunting under treaty rights, are conducting springtime hunts that kill pregnant bison carrying fully-formed fetuses. Dead moms mean dead babies–discarded along with mom’s gut pile.  Continue reading

Hey Chicago–animal suffering lies behind that scenic splendor

Kathleen Stachowski  Other Nations

Dear Chicago:

We need to talk. You can trust me–I’m practically a native daughter. Heck, from my hometown in Indiana, we can look across Lake Michigan and see your skyline (well, on a clear day). I’m a Cubs fan… ’nuff said! But I’ve lived in Montana for going on 14 years now, and if all this doesn’t qualify me to have a frank discussion with you about those tourism ads papering the city…I’m just sayin’.

Well I remember Chicago Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman’s mock hissy fit back in 2010 when Montana’s Office of Tourism started targeting the Windy City. She wrote:

The pictures plastered all over the CTA are bad enough. Majestic mountains, green valleys frosted with white snow, a turquoise glacial lake ringed by pine trees — it’s cruel, dangling that sort of thing in front of Chicago commuters packed glumly into “L” cars.

She went so far as to challenge Chicagoans to fight back with a “Take THAT, Montana” photo campaign (view photos here) wherein Tribune readers were to match Montana’s scenic glory, photo for photo, with their own Land of Lincoln natural splendor.    Continue reading

Injustice, Texas Style

Bridget Crawford 

 NPR reports here on the shooting of 51 buffaloes who wandered from one Texas ranch onto another.  NPR reporter Wade Goodwyn missed the irony in a statement by the owner of the ranch whence the buffaloes roamed: “Slaughtering animals, to me, and I think the state feels the same way — in fact I know the governor’s office does — is a terrible injustice,” according to the ranch owner Wayne Kirk.  But in NPR’s own words, Kirk’s ranch “is primarily a hunting property, and even when they’re on the right side of their fence, buffaloes are there to be killed.” 

 Ummmm…so slaughtering animals is okay as long as someone pays Mr. Kirk for the privilege of doing so?

Volunteer Opportunity:Protecting Bison from Those Who Want Them Dead

David Cassuto

The bison herd in Yellowstone Park is protected from hunters.  Until the animals leave the park — which they are sometimes wont to do (bison have no pockets in which to carry a map).  As soon as the animals step over the park boundary they become prey for hunters abetted by the livestock industry who disguise their bloodlust behind disingenuous talk of brucellosis.

I just learned of an organization called the Buffalo Field Campaign, which works to protect the bison from those who think it the height of sport to shoot large, slow-moving herbivores.  And, if you have some time you wouldn’t mind spending in one of the world’s most spectacular places, the animals could use your help as well.  A little info on one of the coolest volunteer opportunities in the history of ever: Continue reading