This is a strange turn of events.
Montana gov blocks shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter, suggests park feed animals.
Matthew Brown – Associated Press
Here is the actual executive order signed by Brian Schweitzer:
Governor Schweitzer Stops Importation of Bison into Montana for 90 Days
Feb. 16. Schweitzer halts bison slaughter. Bozeman Chronicle. By Carly Flandro. (added by Maughan)
Recently I referenced unpublished data indicating that bison suffer from compromised mitochondrial DNA which could be exacerbated by government slaughter without any examination as to how it will affect the already genetically compromised herd. That information has now been released.
Historically, bison have gone through what is known as a bottleneck where the population declined to such a low number that their genetic diversity became severely limited. The Yellowstone herd of bison is derived of only about 50 individuals, half of which were brought in from other areas such as northwest Montana and Texas. In recent years, while conducting repeated culling – where greater than half of the Yellowstone herd could be killed either by slaughter or winter kill – government managers never studied how their actions affected the genetics of the bison. For example, prior to the winter of 2007/2008 the population was estimated to be 5,500. That winter 1,631 buffalo were killed by the government and hunting but an additional 1,500 died from starvation due to the harsh winter that they were unable to escape because their habitat has been so curtailed by the policy of Montana and its greedy livestock industry. This left only 2,300 bison, or less than half of the bison herd, the following spring and possibly irreparably harmed the remaining genetic diversity of the herd. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks was out using a helicopter to capture elk with nets so that they could test them for brucellosis, attach radio collars, and implant vaginal devices intended to drop out when the elk give birth or abort a fetus. This is another example of how the livestock industry turns the table against wildlife so that they carry no burden.
Disease testing: Elk study aims to measure spread of brucellosis
By Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard.
The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone has begun in earnest. Today Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers witnessed the capture of at least 300 buffalo in the Stephens Creek capture facility.
It appears that 13 of the bison captured were from the group of 25 allowed to leave the Park under a $3.3 million deal between conservation groups, the government, and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Those bison were captured and taken back to the Park on Friday and another one was shot because agents said she refused to go where they wanted her to. This leaves 10 out of the Park on those lands with another one whose whereabouts are unknown. The captured bison also probably include the 62 which were released from the Stephens Creek trap on Thursday.
This deal was touted as a “major breakthrough” by the groups who supported it but so far it has been an expensive fiasco.
Generally around 50% of bison test positive for exposure to brucellosis and Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, told the Buffalo Field Campaign that all of the bison that test positive for brucellosis exposure will be slaughtered. The test does not conclusively show that the bison actually have brucellosis and culture tests done in the past, which look for the actual bacteria rather than antibodies expressed by the buffalo, show that the rate of infection is actually much lower.
Northern Arapaho seek to restore historic link to buffalo.
By TOM MAST Casper Star-Tribune
Park County bison tests positive for brucellosis
By BOB MOEN – Associated Press.
Herd tests positive for brucellosis
By BRENNA BRAATEN – Cody Enterprise.
The last week has been filled with many stories about brucellosis and its impacts on wildlife and livestock.
First, Montana has announced plans to capture and test elk for brucellosis then place radio collars on those females that test positive to see where they go and where they give birth.
Montana plans to capture 500 elk for disease testing.
By MATTHEW BROWN – The Associated Press
This comes at the same time that cattle in Wyoming have tested positive for brucellosis which has caused the state to implement wider testing to determine if there are other cases nearby.
Cows in Park County cattle herd test positive for brucellosis exposure.
By JEFF GEARINO – Star-Tribune staff writer
Wyoming plans to test up to 3,000 cattle.
On top of all of this news come reports that domestic bison on Ted Turner’s Flying D ranch have tested positive for the disease. These are not the bison from the Yellowstone quarantine program.
Brucellosis Found in Domestic Bison Herd.
Montana Department of Livestock
Brucellosis Found In Domestic Bison Near Bozeman.
In response to the infections of brucellosis in previous years the state of Montana implemented a plan which called for increased surveillance in counties which surround Yellowstone National Park in an effort to spare the entire state of losing its brucellosis free status in the event that further infections occur.
Livestock officials set meetings on brucellosis rule
The Belgrade News
All too often, when infections are found, officials blame elk before there is any evidence to support the claim. While it may be likely that elk are behind these incidents it is important to investigate other sources in an effort to determine whether other cattle may be the source as well.
One thing has been determined with regard to past incidents, bison are not to blame.
In so many ways the issue of brucellosis in bison and elk is similar to the issue of domestic sheep diseases and bighorn except the rationalization for killing wildlife is just the opposite.
We now know that domestic sheep are responsible for disease issues in bighorn sheep and those who support the livestock industry want to simply deny it and continue to allow domestic sheep to use areas where there is an obvious conflict and to kill bighorn sheep if the “invade” the sacred domestic sheep allotments.
With bison the same argument is turned on its head so that bison are routinely hazed and slaughtered for being on the sacred landscape of the holy cow. Forget that there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that bison are a truly a risk to cattle that are not even on the landscape when bison are capable of transmitting brucellosis. The bison must be tortured and killed so that the sacred cow can eat the grass that those pesky beasts are eating.
Well, now comes evidence to show that bison another species, elk, have been the culprit in spreading brucellosis to the sacred cow. Are we now going to see a new war waged against them? Forget that brucellosis came from domestic livestock in the first place. Something must be done to protect the kings and queens of the West and the taxpayer must fork over millions upon millions of dollars for a pointless and impossible eradication exercise so that the livestock industry won’t ever have to face any adversity.
Think it won’t happen? Well, it has already begun and the livestock industry will use this new study to rationalize it and to rationalize continuation of their bison policies as well.
DNA Tests Indicate Yellowstone National Park Elk, Not Bison, Most Likely To Spread Brucellosis.
Kurt Repanshek – National Parks Traveler
We wrote about this story last December: Second brucellosis case found in Idaho cattle herd. It turns out that 7 cattle tested positive in the herd that was assembled over the last two years. The origins of the animals have not been reported. The remaining animals are being kept in quarantine.
Idaho State Veterinarian Bill Barton was quick to blame elk as the source of the outbreak but there has been no source identified. Will the results of the epidemiology be released?
Rancher still quarantining herd after brucellosis.
The plan to dart bison in Yellowstone with vaccine is just another money pit in an unending battle against bison by the livestock industry. It is inconceivable that the government wants to waste even more money on a plan that even they say won’t rid Yellowstone bison of brucellosis or bring more tolerance for wild bison by the livestock oligarchy of Montana.
This is just another money pit that won’t accomplish anything. Quit pushing the rancher’s problems onto the taxpayers, let bison be bison and vaccinate the damned cattle instead.
Many skeptical of bison vaccination proposal.
By DANIEL PERSON – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Here is this week’s update from the Buffalo Field Campaign. There is a very interesting video showing the birth of a buffalo calf where the mother consumes the entire afterbirth. This seems to contradict the myth that livestock industry perpetrates on the taxpayer. They want you to believe that the risk is so high as to justify this B.S.
For the third year in a row the Montana Department of Livestock has violated the private property rights of the Galanis’ on Horse Butte with their helicopters. The arrogance and the hypocrisy of the livestock industry is astounding. They continually cry that private property is sacred but it must only mean their private property.
Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field
May 20, 2010
* Update from the Field
* New! Two Video Clips from BFC
* BFC Looking for Summer Outreach Volunteers
* Buffalo in the News
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Useful Links
Read the rest of this entry »
This seems to be what is behind the attempt to put elk under the purview of the Montana Department of Livestock. The article indicates that brucellosis is more prevalent on private lands where hunting is limited and elk congregate. I think the real question that should be asked is should livestock be the driving force behind wildlife management. Not only has this issue been devastating to bison, now it appears that the livestock industry is building up momentum for the same for elk. Anal probes for bull elk now too?
The hysteria surrounding brucellosis has allowed the livestock industry to fight even modest attempts at change in how it is managed. For several years the Montana Stockgrowers Association has fought attempts to create a zone around Yellowstone which would call for mandatory vaccination and greater testing of livestock by saying that it would be unfair to the ranchers who would be affected. In reality, the plan takes away from their ability to hold the brucellosis myth over the heads of the entire state by limiting the area affected by a brucellosis infection to just the zone around Yellowstone instead of the entire state. They don’t like this and they’re fighting.
Let’s face it. Brucellosis is here to stay. There is no way to rid the ecosystem of it now that it is an endemic part of the Greater Yellowstone, and keep in mind, it was brought here by the livestock industry in the first place. The same livestock industry that was partially responsible for, and benefitted from, the destruction of wolves, grizzlies, bison and Native Americans which inhabited the West.
New Brucellosis “Hot Spots” Found In Yellowstone Area.
MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press
From yesterday’s Buffalo Field Campaign Weekly Update [emphasis is mine]:
Along Yellowstone’s western boundary, the Duck Creek, Cougar Creek and Madison River corridors are flowing with the migration of the country’s last wild buffalo. Buffalo families, solitary bulls, and bachelor bull groups beautifully ignore the ecologically meaningless man-made boundaries between Yellowstone and Montana as they spiral through this tiny fraction of their native homeland. As they gently graze the new spring grasses, they are taking a lead role in healing the wounded land that suffers in their absence. And in so doing, they also lift our spirits. Volunteers have been engaged in a total celebration of buffalo, and this week, we were gifted with the sightings of two newborn calves.
Patrols have also been blessed with the sightings of a grizzly bear, Sandhill cranes, white pelicans, otters, ospreys, bluebirds, great blue herons, bald eagles, moose, flickers, and many of the area’s animal inhabitants. This region, while sadly just a wee dot on the map, is huge in its wild majesty.
The buffalo’s spring migration has been keeping BFC quite busy along Highway 191, which cuts through the buffalo’s migration corridors. Patrols have been out at all hours, into the early morning darkness, warning traffic and helping buffalo (and motorists) survive this aspect of their journey. BFC’s night patrols are a huge boon to the buffalo and the community, and while it’s truly the responsibility of the State, Montana looks to BFC and we are honored to offer this service that has a direct and positive impact. BFC will continue to call on Montana to do more, including construct safe-passage projects that allow wildlife to cross the highway without setting foot on the asphalt.
For bull buffalo, the celebration has turned into a confusing nightmare. After molesting 8 bull buffalo along Yellowstone’s northern boundary, the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has arrived in West Yellowstone. Beginning yesterday on Horse Butte, APHIS drugged and collected semen from five bulls – some as young as two and a half years old like this young fella – in their “study” to determine what is already known: that bull buffalo pose no measurable risk of transmitting brucellosis to cattle. Under this extremely invasive study APHIS first darts the bulls to inject a drug to knock them out, then collects their semen by inserting a large vibrating probe in their anus. Before injecting the downed bulls with the reversal agent that wakes them, they spray-paint a thick blue line across their magnificent hind quarters. There will be no benefit for wild buffalo coming from this totally unnecessary and shameful study.
While BFC was documenting the first bull that went down, one of the APHIS technicians rudely and purposefully stepped in front of our camera multiple times, trying to prevent BFC from filming, causing a confrontation. He failed to stop us. Later in the day, patrols reported that APHIS agents were cracking jokes about the invasive work they were doing, making a mockery of how they were “handling” the bulls. In another instance, after APHIS darted a mature bull out of a bachelor group, one of the buffalo’s buddies got extremely upset and wanted to investigate what had happened to his friend, much like we witness during the buffalo hunt. He approached APHIS with his tail up, ready to charge and defend his comrade. APHIS responded by pepper-spraying the bull with bear-spray. A brief discussion with APHIS after they were done with their “data collection” yesterday revealed to us that the drugs they use on the bulls can cause them to overheat, disturb gastrointestinal functions, and cause anxiety and anger. They then monitor the bulls for a mere 30 minutes and then set their sights on another. The young bull who was targeted yesterday was so confused and visibly humiliated he left his family group and ended up walking through a near-by neighborhood on Horse Butte. We wonder if APHIS is warning Horse Butte residents that they are injecting bull bison with anger-inducing drugs?
Today, APHIS is again in our backyard, on the buffalo’s home turf. At the time of this writing, patrols report that no bulls have yet been molested by APHIS. They are being escorted around the area by a MT Department of Livestock agent, looking for “test subjects.” APHIS let us know that they will continue to target bull buffalo until the DOL gives them the heads up that hazing operations will begin. BFC will be with the buffalo, as we always are, ready to document all actions made against them, so we can share their story and turn the tide – with your help – towards a future where wild buffalo take precedence over the economic interests of the cattle industry. Together, we will realize our vision of self-willed buffalo walking the earth as they please, with honor and respect bestowed upon them and their sacred relationship to the Earth.
For the buffalo, for all things wild and free, celebrate Earth Day everyday!
A good overview of the buffalo issue and how they continue to be persecuted by Montana’s livestock industry and how the buffalo from the quarantine feasibility study ended up going to Ted Turner.
The Privatization of Wildlife: How Ted Turner Scored Yellowstone’s Bison Herd
AlterNet / By Joshua Frank
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 23, 2010
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign 406-646-0070, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Nelson, Western Watersheds Project, 406-830-3099, email@example.com
Glenn Hockett, Gallatin Wildlife Association, 406-586-1729, firstname.lastname@example.org
GALLATIN COUNTY, MONTANA: Four conservation organizations filed a legal challenge today against the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ (FWP) decision to complete one phase of its Quarantine Feasibility Study on a private ranch of Turner Enterprises, Inc. (TEI), and to give TEI a percentage of the public’s bison at the end of the study. The groups assert that this action violates the state’s public trust responsibilities to protect and manage wildlife for public and not private benefit. The decision privatizes a full 75% of any offspring born to the 86 bison now held on TEI’s Green Ranch. Throughout earlier phases of the study, FWP indicated all bison, including offspring, would be managed as public wildlife and could never be privatized. The plaintiffs assert FWP’s final decision goes against these promises, and against FWP’s public trust duties.
Read the rest of this entry »
Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field
February 4, 2010
Buffalo Field Campaign relies on donations from people like you to fund our work to protect the bison. Please contribute today to keep us strong in the field and on the policy front.
* Update from the Field
* IBMP Agencies Hold Secret “Public” Meeting
* Good-Bye Tolerance: DOL & Park Service Battle Over Adaptive Management
* Quarantine: FWP Decides to Send 88 Yellowstone Buffalo to Ted Turner
* Wild Buffalo: What Does this Mean to You?
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Important Links
Read the rest of this entry »
“It’s difficult to imagine a safer or better home for 14 Yellowstone bison than Guernsey State Park, which was suggested by Wyoming officials to host the animals.” Read the rest of the story in the Casper Star Tribune editorial.
Stephany Seay, media coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign, writes a letter in response to the Casper Star Tribune’s poorly researched op-ed of December 30th titled “Turner ranch plan is the best way to save bison“.
Giving bison to Turner isn’t legal
Stephany Seay – Buffalo Field Campaign
It’s not legal: according to the permit from Yellowstone National Park (Permit #YELL-2007-SCI-5506) “Yellowstone National Park bison transferred to quarantine shall not be used for commercial or revenue-generating purposes.”
The Gallatin Wildlife Association speaks out as well.
Wildlife group explains position
JIM BAILEY, Belgrade, Mont.
Gallatin Wildlife Association
Another cow, this time a 15 year-old, has tested positive for brucellosis in a herd that resided in eastern Idaho. This is the second from the same herd so Idaho retains its brucellosis-free status. The herd was assembled over the last two years and the origins of the animals have not been reported.
It is very important that epidemiology studies look closely at the samples taken so that the true source of the infection can be found, even if it came from other cattle. It is premature to say what the source of infection is yet when infections occur people sympathetic to the livestock industry are very quick to point fingers at wildlife.
Second brucellosis case found in Idaho cattle herd
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS – Capital Press
The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks’ bison quarantine project started several years ago in an attempt to create a brucellosis free heard of Yellowstone bison from captured calves which had been repeatedly tested for the disease. These calves were separated from their mothers who were slaughtered and placed in pastures just north of Gardiner, Montana where they were fed out of troughs. They have no connection to their land and have not been exposed to experienced, older animals so they haven’t learned buffalo social skills. There is a big problem though. The program wasn’t thoroughly thought out, the FWP didn’t have any takers for the bison before the program was started.
The original, and often vaunted, intent was to create herds which would be used to repopulate the western public and tribal lands with genetically pure bison. There is a requirement to keep the bison that leave the quarantined facility fenced away from other animals for an additional 5 years in case brucellosis, a bacterial disease, re-emergerges. That’s expensive and nobody wants to do it so proposals to take the bison have been limited.
Enter Ted Turner. He has offered to keep the bison fenced, at a cost, for five years but he wants 190 of the progeny expected to be produced during those 5 years so that he can improve the genetics of his own commercial buffalo operations. This is the polar opposite of what was originally required of the recipients of the bison. The plans specifically mandated that the bison would not be mixed with hybrid bison and that they would remain in the public trust.
The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has said that the other major proposal to take the bison to Fort Belknap is not serious in nature and that they would have to slaughter them if they can’t give them to Ted Turner. They frame the issue as if slaughter is the only other option.
This has been a perennial issue in areas surrounding the elk feedlots in Wyoming. It now seems that brucellosis has once again infected cattle in Idaho but it is too early to say where the disease originated. If brucellosis is found in another cattle herd in Idaho within a year then Idaho, once again, will lose its brucellosis free status and all cattle that are exported will have to be tested for the disease.
For years this scenario was held over the heads of people who support free roaming bison in Montana yet, when it came to pass, it turned out to be more of a minor inconvenience rather than the catastrophe the livestock industry claimed it would be.
This issue has been used rather effectively against wildlife for years but the disease is much less of a threat to human health than it was before the pasteurization of milk became the standard. The only way to contract brucellosis is by coming into direct contact with infected fetal tissue or by drinking unpasteurized milk. You cannot become infected by eating cooked beef.
Livestock disease found in eastern Idaho cow
By REBECCA BOONE (AP)
Hope I’m wrong, but I doubt this will get approval if it means bison will be able to migrate outside Yellowstone Park because brucellosis is not the real issue. It’s the symbolism of who has the upper hand on the public’s land.
Tentative deal would replace brucellosis rules. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.
“If we could get rid of feed grounds and reduce population, we could solve much of our brucellosis problem,” Tom Roffe said.
By DANIEL PERSON
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
This is the wolf weekly news put out by USFWS because Wyoming can’t manage wolves.
Be sure to read the “monitoring” and “control” sections.
– – – – – – – –
Update: There is essentially no new news here, not contained in the report below; but it has made it into the traditional media.
Yellowstone workers to kill problem wolf. By The Associated Press
– – – – – – – – –
WYOMING WOLF PROGRAM
Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Read the rest of this entry »
They were going to let 25 of what I sarcastically called “cyberbison” use the CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant) land north of Yellowstone Park, but there was no northward migration this winter.
Ranch land for bison sees no activity first year. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer
USDA wants two zones to reduce costs.
Livestock interests say that it will put Yellowstone area ranchers out of business.
According to the article, Livestock interests and Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife want eradication of the disease which means killing of entire herds of bison and elk. This apparently is not totally correct as you can see from Bob Wharff’s statement below. It still appears that some livestock interests favor eradication.
The Park Service says that “the only certain solution – destroying entire infected elk herds in Yellowstone and elsewhere – was not politically or practically feasible”
Wildlife advocates who oppose eradication/wildlife slaughter efforts were not consulted for the article.
Wyoming brucellosis group examines federal proposal
Wolves brucellosis-free. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole News and Guide
A cow would have to dig up a den to contract brucellosis from a wolf. This is ridiculous.
Wyoming lawmakers want to test wolves for brucellosis
By MATT JOYCE Of The Associated Press
192 elk were captured on Tuesday at the Fall Creek feedground of which 122 were females and 6 of those tested positive for exposure to brucellosis. Another 150 were captured Wednesday at the Muddy Creek feedground of which 60 were females.
State sends six elk to slaughter
By CAT URBIGKIT
Casper Star Tribune.
Jackson Hole Daily | Elk tests, kills to start
The article points out that $815,000 has been spent and that seroprevalence has declined. This reduction may or may not be associated with past test and slaughter efforts and will likely be for naught if Wyoming persists with its feeding of elk during the winter which concentrates them and makes transmission more likely.
As pointed out by Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, this does not address the likely impending chronic wasting disease outbreak.
– – – –
Robert Hoskins wrote to me saying WY Game and Fish does not use an experimental design for this program. Therefore, you can’t conclude it is working.
This is a general problem in politically based studies of policy. Experimental or semi (quasi) experimental designs are rarely used. An experimental design includes one or more groups that get “the treatment” and a similar group or groups which is the “control” group, meaning no treatment. If both groups increase or decrease by about the same amount, the treatment has had no effect. Some other (some outside) factor was responsible. Regarding this program, we have no idea. Ralph Maughan
What an outrage! The officials who speak for this special interest group need to be put in their place. This should be a national campaign issue.
Focus on elk as brucellosis persists near Yellowstone. By Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer.
They will have to kill every elk in the Greater Yellowstone, and, of course, every bison. They miss some too, so even their “final solution” will fail. The ecosystem will collapse, all on account of an inconvenience to the livestock industry, one primarily of their own making by failing to adopt a split state status for brucellosis.
The real bad guys here in addition to the Montana Department of Livestock, are the Montana Stockgrowers Association who deliberately shot down governor Schweitzer’s split state status proposal. Then, of course, there are the Wyoming elk feedgrounds/feedlots that perpetuate transmission of the disease among elk.
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Please make sure this story and your reaction to it gets posted to other blogs and sent to candidates for office.
More cattle test positive for disease. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.
If any show up in a second herd, Wyoming will lose its brucellosis free status once again.
The important lawsuit to rid the National Elk Refuge of artificial winter feeding of elk is underway. This article in the Jackson Hole Star Tribune touches on the testimony of two experts, one on each side.
If as the interest group, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife claims, closing feedgrounds will cause elk to transmit brucellosis to cattle, why does brucellosis keep showing up in the spring next to the elk feedgrounds rather than elsewhere?
This happened most recently near Daniel, putting Wyoming’s class A status in jeopardy once again. Several years ago cows caught brucellosis from elk at the feedground near Pinedale, Wyoming. Story on the Daniel infection Brucellosis now confirmed in cows near Sublette County, WY elk feedlot. June 17, 2008.
Brucellosis again in Wyoming, and, surprise, surprise, most likely from the nearby elk winter feedlot.
Brucellosis in Montana too, for the first time in a long while. it came from either elk or other cattle.
So what’s the government’s brucellosis policy directed toward? — killing thousands of bison.
Story in the Casper Star Tribune (with usual the typical scare tactics about human and other brucellosis). Tests confirm disease in cows in (WY) cows. By Chris Merrill.
One error that should be pointed out. The articles states: “Personnel at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory have confirmed that two black Angus cows from one Daniel herd were infected with what scientists call brucella abortus, a bacterium that causes animals such as bison, elk, cattle and swine to abort their fetuses, and can cause undulant fever in humans.” [boldface mine]
There are many kinds of brucellosis. Not just brucellosis abortis. Brucellosis in swine is brucellosis suis, a more dangerous disease. It is spread by feral pigs and its incidence is increasing in the United States because of spread of these non-native animals. Feral pigs, however, have a hunting constituency.
There have been reports today of another possible case of brucellosis in two cattle from Daniel, Wyoming. The tests don’t confirm brucellosis infection, that will require a culture test to determine if the brucella abortus bacteria is present which will take another two weeks.
Wyo may have new brucellosis case
Casper Star Tribune
Here is the Wyoming Livestock Board Press Release
Brucellosis confirmed in Sublette herd
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
This news release was just issued by Buffalo Allies of Bozeman.
– – – – –
Contact: Chris Klatt
June 12, 2008
(Bozeman, Mont.) – The grassroots citizens group Buffalo Allies of Bozeman responded to the Monday announcement of brucellosis in a cattle herd in the Paradise Valley with a challenge to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to withdraw from the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).
According to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the IBMP “lacks accountability and transparency.” The IBMP has also been criticized by Gov. Schweitzer. Despite criticism, federal and state government agencies acted under the IBMP to sanction the slaughter of over 1,600 wild bison this past winter under the guise of preventing the spread of disease to cattle. However, the largest slaughter of buffalo since the 19th century did not prevent cattle in Greater Yellowstone from being afflicted. “There has never been transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle in the wild, and it is clear that no link can be made between the current outbreak in Pray and Yellowstone’s buffalo herds, which haven’t been that far north in the Paradise Valley since they were extirpated for livestock interests. It’s time to scrap the useless IBMP, which treats buffalo as diseased, domesticated animals instead of as wildlife,” said Buffalo Allies member Jim Macdonald.
Another cow has been found to be infected with brucellosis costing the state of Montana its brucellosis-free status :
Sick Cow Costs Montana Its Brucellosis-Free Status – Mathew Brown – AP
The cow in question was among a herd in Paradise Valley south of Livingston.
NewWest’s coverage reveals the state’s astonishment :
Montana veterinarian Marty Zaluski said the loss of brucellosis free status is particularly frustrating given efforts by livestock producers and the industry to mitigate risks and increase disease surveillance.
“Producers in the Paradise Valley have been involved and diligent, and they have taken it upon themselves to be proactive in regard to managing the risk of brucellosis transmission,” Zaluski said. “In this particular case, the owner did everything right. The cow had been vaccinated twice and was part of a herd management plan.
While it doesn’t directly address “the deal,” “the breakthrough,” the NYT just printed The Sorry Myth of Brucellosis.
The editorial is about Wyoming, not bison and Montana, but the media are starting to notice the connection between brucellosis and the dominance of the livestock industry.
Robert Hoskins has a very good guest column in New West today (Feb. 7, 2008). The True Cost of Brucellosis. I fixed the link. RM
Let’s all cheer. USDA has declared U.S. brucellosis free except for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park elk and bison.
“We must now focus our efforts on eradicating brucellosis from the free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area in order to protect our national cattle herd against future outbreaks of this disease.” These are the words of some Bush USDA undersecretary.
Lies. Lies. The disease is not perpetuated in these national parks.
As we comb Bush’s phony budget, I think we can find some funds to cut here unless they start to focus on real disease threats.
Jan. 29, 2008
We’ve covered this pointless plan to trap elk and test them for brucellosis antibodies before they go onto the Muddy Creek winter feedlot. Those that test positive are killed and the rest left to act like cattle for the rest of the winter.
Regarding the slaughtered elk, most of which really don’t have brucellosis although they test positive for antibodies, where is “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife – Wyoming.” Is this OK with them?
The elk haven’t cooperated and continue not to act like cattle. Now, if only some of the doomed wolves in the area would appear and chase the elk well away from the feedlot.
Elk avoid traps. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.
Note: the Muddy Creek feedlot was the indirect source of the brucellosis infection that caused Wyoming to lose its class 1, “brucellosis-free” status several years ago.
Jan. 30, 2008. Pinedale elk trap themselves. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.
Screwups continue in this misbegotten program.
Feb. 1, 2008. 20 elk are finally tested for brucellosis antibodies, but operation continues to be messy. By Cat Urbigkit. Casper Star Tribune.
This is from today’s — Jan 16, 2008 — edition of the Jackson Hole News and Guide, page 29A. It’s not on-line.
Wolves, not drought, kill elk, hunters say
“Bill Hoppe, president of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, called (Doug) Smith’s conclusions (that drought caused the general decline in elk body condition) a lie. “Doug Smith wouldn’t have much fat in his bone marrow either if he got chased 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by a bunch of wolves,” he said. “The area in and around Yellowstone park is being devastated by these wolves. . . .”
” Nobody seems to care if the wolves eat everything, he said. “These wolves, they will eat somebody before it’s all over. You can’t have that many people skiing and snowshoeing and have this many wolves and not have somebody get hurt. These wolves aren’t afraid of you. The are not one bit afraid of a person.”
“Bob Wharff, executive director of Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, also said wolves, not drought, caused weaker animals.“The reality is, wolves create sick and weak animals,” he said. “
Folks might have noticed Bob Wharff started posting here today. I think these folks sat down and thought up a new argument because of crumbling credibility about wolves hurting elk. The brucellosis scare tactic is also wearing really thin after 20 years.
Bill Hoppe should really stop this fear-mongering that wolves are going eat someone. They seem to be the only big animal that hasn’t hurt someone around here. There is a real likelihood of being eaten alive, but it’s not from big animals.
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This article tells us what is really going to eat us alive, and it isn’t pretty. That little girl, who the wolf was going to eat, has a million times greater chance of her arm dissolving in pus from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), pronounced “Mersa.”
Finally an essay how Montana and Wyoming’s brucellosis policy tramples on private property rights. By Glenn Hockett. Billings Gazette. Guest Opinion: Public, private property lost to brucellosis policy.
He also points out the continuing frenzy over brucellosis amidst the lackadaisical approach to other livestock diseases.
The headline came from an email sent my one of the folks who reads this blog.
Below is a guest opinion from the Montana Stockgrowers who recently sacrificed their friends in the Montana Cattle Association on the false god of brucellosis control.
Guest Opinion to the Gazette: Brucellosis policy must protect ranchers. By Steve Roth (Stockgrower dude). Roth writes: “The May 2007 disclosure of brucellosis was the most fearsome event in Montana’s livestock industry in over 20 years.”
I guess the Montana livestock industry must not have had much to worry about the last 20 years. When Idaho lost it’s brucellosis free status (since regained) the media and the livestock associations could hardly motivate themselves to even write a news release.
Remember, the Montana Stockgrowers only speak for a portion of the Montana livestock industry. They are going to hype this all winter long as they kill bison and probably violate the property rights of local residents.
The Montana Board of Livestock voted not to adopt a plan that would free the rest of Montana from being held hostage on brucellosis status because some of the bison and elk in Yellowstone Park are infected with brucellosis.
“Gov. Brian Schweitzer said the decision represented ‘misinformation’ spread by the lobbyist of the Montana Stockgrowers Association”
We all know the controversy has little to do with brucellosis and a lot to do with the Stockgrowers insisting Yellowstone be treated like one big ranch as well as showing they can push local people around and disrespect their property rights.
Panelists nix split zone for cattle. Brucellosis plan opposed by Montana Stockgrowers. By Jennifer McKee. Billings Gazette State Bureau