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Yellowstone National Park Sends Hundreds of America's Last Wild Buffalo to Slaughter
Under continued pressure from Montana livestock interests, Yellowstone National Park is sending hundreds of America's last wild buffalo—the National Mammal of the U.S.—to slaughter.
Since Feb. 8, approximately 45 wild Yellowstone buffalo have been shipped from the park's Stephens Creek buffalo trap to a slaughterhouse. With recent captures of at least 600 buffalo, more than 500 wild buffalo remain captive inside Yellowstone National Park's trap. The government intends to slaughter even more. Upwards of 400 more wild bison have also been killed by hunters along Yellowstone National Park's boundary.
The country's last wild bison are in the crosshairs of MCA 81-2-120, a state law that puts the Montana Department of Livestock in charge of the migratory species.
"The unfounded threats and discredited fears of brucellosis do not justify Montana Department of Livestock management of Montana's one and only wild buffalo population," said Buffalo Field Campaign media coordinator Stephany Seay.
Yellowstone National Park is slaughtering wild buffalo under the highly controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan, the Montana Governor approved plan under MCA 81-2-120.
"This senseless slaughter of our National Mammal can come to an end by managing wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana," said Buffalo Field Campaign co-founder Mike Mease. "Governor Steve Bullock and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk need to show leadership and end government slaughter. "
Buffalo Field Campaign's alternative plan to manage wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana can be found here.
"Montana can restore wild buffalo while saving dollars and making sense: repeal MCA 81-2-120 and manage wild bison like wild elk in Montana," said Seay. "It really is that simple."
The Yellowstone buffalo are America's last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. They are the last to identify as a wildlife species and they are ecologically extinct throughout their native range. They've been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List for being "threatened with near extinction" and even Montana designates the species "in greatest conservation need," with conditions "making [bison] vulnerable to global extinction."
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.