Conservationist says federal agencies renege on bison plan

Is there an opportunity for a lawsuit here?

Conservationist says federal agencies renege on bison plan Associated Press in the Great Falls Tribune.






  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I’ve made this comment elsewhere; I do not think “renege” is the right word. The agencies have never intended to take the actions they promised in the IBMP that would move bison into Montana. That is, they lied from the very beginning.

    The reason for putting the money into vaccination experimentation is that no one really believes vaccination will “eliminate” brucellosis from bison, but that vaccination gives them a plausible excuse to continue treating bison as livestock, which keeps bison out of Montana. That’s the operational goal–keep bison out of Montana at all costs.

    The Montana livestock industry will never agree to allow wild, free-roaming bison in Montana; the issue isn’t brucellosis, the issue isn’t disease–the issue is control of land and grass and wildlife.

    That is, the issue is power.

    Nevertheless, there most certainly is a legal problem, specifically, the money already spent on the CUT deal ($30 million) hasn’t achieved what CUT and the USFS agreed to. So yes, perhaps a lawsuit is in the pipeline.


  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Is vaccinating bison part of IBMP? I didn’t know that.

    Of course it won’t work. One vaccinates the cattle.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Vaccination of bison most certainly is part of the original IBMP. We expect this coming May, several years late of course, the DEIS from Yellowstone National Park on its specific plan to vaccinate bison IN THE PARK with RB51. It’s the one aspect of “adaptive management” that the Park actually intends to follow.

    One of the fundamental problems with bison vaccination is that the Park doesn’t have the pre-vaccination base line data on actual bison infection with brucellosis with which to compare expected decline in brucellosis in bison post-vaccination. In other words, there is no way this vaccination experiment can be a true scientific experiment, because there can be no basis of comparison. Park biologists have told me that they’re going to try to fix this problem with some complicated statistical manipulation of what little field data they do have, plus data from controlled experiments. My own interpretation of this is they’re going to go with statistical legerdemain.


  4. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    “It’s not in the budget,” said Bruce Knight, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.”

    In addition to bison removal, the service has been seeking a “meaningful long-term solution without the need for land acquisition,” Knight said, referring to efforts to develop a vaccination protocol for bison.

    So APHIS wants to be relieved of it’s obligations under the IBMP? Who agreeded to that? “We don’t need no stinkin’ land acquisitions. We just need a vaccine.”

    APHIS is not adhering to the agreed upon Interagency Bison Management Plan. 1) they claim they don’t have the funds and 2) they’re trying to avoid “land acquisition,” i.e., acquiring the grazing rights.

    When a party to a contract fails to perform, what do you do? Yep, you take ‘em to court.

    The feds should be forced to perform exactly as they agreed to perform.

    Another quote from Bruce Knight when APHIS declared all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to be free of brucellosis: “But our work is not done. 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.”!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2008/02/0027.xml

    Protect our national cattle herd? The way to “protect” cattle is to end grazing on AMERICA’S public lands. As a superior benefit, our wildlife would enjoy the protection of living in wild space unoccupied by privately owned livestock.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  5. vicki Avatar

    Mack, I would agree.
    I also have to wonder how much the government pays their accountants? They should be fired. Coming up with 1.5 million should be cake. It probably costs more to combat the bad press they get from bison slaughters.

  6. kim kaiser Avatar

    there was somehing in the paper to day in big letters abou the bion,, some sort of agreement reached to vaccinate or at least they have decided to let the aniamls that test not positive to be sent back in to the park instead of just hauling them all off to slaughter,,, in the billlings paper i think

  7. Brian Ertz Avatar

    how are they going to vaccinate all the elk ?

  8. Concerned Avatar

    They Can’t, it is an impossibility to vaccinate all of the elk, and improbable they can vaccinate all of the bison..They knew this going in, when the IBMP was drawn up..if they succeed in starting vaccinations on either species, you will see animals running around with ear tags, just as you see with cattle…

  9. Izabelam Avatar

    Here is one from Colorado – also about bison

    PARK COUNTY – Deputies are still counting the number of bison that
    >were killed on Wednesday across several hundred acres of land.
    >Park County Undersheriff Monte Gore says they received a 911 call on
    >Wednesday around noon that a group of hunters was actively gunning
    >down the bison in an area in Park County near Guffey.
    >”I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gore. “It’s tragic.”
    >Residents who live nearby are calling it a “massacre” and a “bloodbath.”
    >According to Gore, they are still processing the scene and have yet
    >to determine how many bison were killed, but 9NEWS has learned it is
    >at least 30 bison.
    >Park Coutny Sheriff Fred Wegener says they were killed over several days.
    >Authorities say they have interviewed about 14 people and say it’s
    >possible the group that shot the bison was hired by another person.
    >”It appears to have been some sort of hunting activity, now to what
    >extent, I don’t know,” said Wegener. “It looked like they’d been
    >harvesting these animals, which leads me to believe they were hunting them.”
    >The bison were part of a private herd owned by the Downary family,
    >which also owns the Elk Mountain Cattle Company.
    >Authorities are investigating whether the shootings are connected to
    >a property dispute.
    >The bison were on an area of land that belongs to another family that
    >residents told 9NEWS has an ongoing dispute with the Downary family.

  10. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The question, how do you vaccinate them all, is at the heart of the problem–you can’t vaccinate them all unless you turn them into livestock and confine them behind fences and run them through chutes one by one, and even then, you won’t get them all.

    Once again, it is clear that disease control isn’t the purpose of the IBMP, or of elk vaccination, test, & slaughter here in Wyoming. The true purpose is to hand control of wild, free-roaming wildlife over to the livestock industry.

    This is so obvious that it boggles the mind that so few perceive it.

  11. vicki Avatar

    since these people probably vaccinated these bison, and then they were killed… wouldn’t that be russling them? I don’t think they’d be considered wild.

    at any rate, would the lease mentioned above be honored if the money was raised entirely by outside sources?

  12. Pronghorn Avatar

    “The 19 posters in the above album feature the posters you would have seen had you attended one of the public meetings to discuss the remote delivery of Brucellosis vaccine to free-ranging bison in Yellowstone National Park.”


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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