Federal Court ruling in favour of Yellowstone Bison

My daughter’s first oil painting – Russell Means, Native American activist, libertarian and actor
Book signing for Native – Waterstones Northallerton

Bison in the Lamar Valley

The following is an excerpt from The Wildlife News and constitutes an important blow against those factions within the livestock lobby that seek to impose restrictive practices upon bison migration and relocation.

In a fantastic victory, a federal judge ruled yesterday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally denied Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone National Park bison population. The ruling overturns the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s negative 90-day finding. Only about 5,000 bison remain in the Yellowstone herds which constitute the only wild, genetically pure bison to continuously occupy their native range in the United States.

“This is a huge victory,” said Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director Ken Cole. “This is a long battle but we won a significant round for the buffalo today.”

State and federal agencies have been killing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park in an effort to reduce the imperiled population and cater to unfounded fears of transmission risk to local livestock operations of brucellosis, a non-native disease brought to the region by livestock,. However, a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences found that of all the instances of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to domestic cattle, not one single incident was attributable to bison

“The Fish and Wildlife Service made a political decision to suppress and ignore science in order to deny the Yellowstone bison the protection they deserve,” said Josh Osher, Montana director for Western Watersheds Project. “The administration is clearly bowing to the influence of the livestock industry and its agenda to minimize bison populations and their natural migrations, despite their status as the national mammal.”

“This is huge that the Court recognized the importance of science,” says Michael Harris, an attorney with Friends of Animals who argued the case. “It sends a signal to the Fish and Wildlife Service that they cannot manipulate the science to serve political interests, like cattle ranchers.”

In his ruling, the judge stated, “If two pieces of scientific evidence conflict, the Service must credit the supporting evidence unless that evidence is unreliable, irrelevant, or otherwise unreasonable to credit.”

“This moves bison back into queue for full and fair consideration under the Endangered Species Act,” said Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director Ken Cole. “That’s so important for these small subpopulations who are at grave risk of blinking out under current management.”

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