Without adequate notification to the public, in late-February, the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department of Veterinary Services (VS) released an Environmental Assessement that outlines their intention to immobilize bull bison in the field in order to study their semen and blood. Their purported reasons for undertaking this study are to determine if bull bison can transmit brucellosis. APHIS intends to dart and immobilize wild bull bison - up to 50 individuals - on Gallatin National Forest lands north and west of Yellowstone's boundary. APHIS has not disclosed the immobilization chemical they intend to use on bison. APHIS also wishes to conduct another phase of this study inside Yellowstone National Park, on bull bison during the rut (mating) season. Yellowstone has flatly denied APHIS's requests for permits, demonstrating that this study is undesireable and unnecessary.
It is already widely accepted that bull bison pose a zero risk of transmitting brucellois to domestic livestock, and there has never been a documented case of any wild bison transmitting the livestock disease brucellosis back to cattle. APHIS is also under the false impression that wild bull bison would actually choose to mate with domestic cows, however, in the history of cattle being on the buffalo's landscape, this has never happened. Artificial insemination is the only means by which to cross Bison bison with domestic cattle.
Buffalo Field Campaign is adamently opposed to this study as it is unwarranted, poorly thought out, lacks critical information as well as the necessary permissions APHIS needs to carry it out. More importantly, it will be dangerous to bulls and possibly other buffalo, and will result in absolutely no benefit to wild bison. APHIS also put forth minimal effort to notifiy the public that this Environmental Assessment was available for public comment, so Buffalo Field Campaign has requested an extension for public comment, but currently there is very little time in which to act. APHIS's comment period ends on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. However, everyone who cares about wild bison should continue to send in comments even after the closing of the public comment period.
TAKE ACTION FOR BULL BUFFALO! Please personalize the suggested comments below, and in your own words tell APHIS that they should not proceed with this study.