“U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said Monday that the federal government should reduce Yellowstone’s elk and bison populations to keep the animals separated from domestic livestock.”

They aren’t satisfied with pushing bison toward extinction, and at the same time care little for elk in the Park or in the Greater Yellowstone.

It’s all about the cattle industry showing us who is boss and maintaining their power and privileges.

Story: Cattle group’s brucellosis proposal draws fire. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

Can we hear from the group Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife about this, or are the too tied to cattle to speak out?

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

32 Responses to Livestock industry's true colors: decimate Yellowstone Park bison and elk

  1. john weis says:

    SFW is too tied….but this could contribute to the discussion of a split. I have never understood their joined at the hip stance.

  2. This livestock industry proposal also shows how willing they are to use the federal government when they think it is in their interest.

    The rest of the time they are whining and complaining about having to obey rules and that their federal handouts are not big enough.

  3. JB says:

    Ditto John Weis’ comments: I view hunters and wildlife advocates (wildlife watchers, if you will) as natural allies in the West and have never understood why so many choose to doggedly support the livestock industry. It would be great if this opened a riff in that unhealthy alliance?

  4. Wyoming is already making aggressive moves on its own that should force a split – I saw video of their testing of elk; if hunters groups saw that video, they would not be happy with the way the elk are being handled.

    The US Cattlemen are saber-rattling – I think they are hoping that they catch the eye of the new Administration.

    We don’t saber rattle in the same way; no one fears a beef boycott; or a cattle industry divestment strategy – wish there was a better way to take them on. They have a gun to the head of the wildlife; we don’t have any similar course seemingly available to us.

  5. They don’t have a gun to anyone’s head. They just shot themselves in the foot.

    Their attempt to grab Yellowstone’s wildlife needs to be publicized.

    When people learn of the brucellosis scam, they are open to seeing the industry’s real motives of domination and control of people and wildlife.

  6. natehobbs says:

    One more reason to never buy beef. I have really had it with them and have been beef free for the past three months.

    It seems ironic that many of the opponents of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone region are cattle growers who USE ELK as one of there arguments against the animals presence in the area.

  7. BW says:


    Not often that you and I have agreed on an issue but you are correct in that they just shot themselves in the foot.

    It will be interesting to see how many of the livestock
    producers echo todays remarks or how many will realize the mistake that has been made.

    I have been waiting for the USDA APHIS to make their play and if this is it they are badly mistaken. I already told the APHIS representative that has been working with Wyoming’s Brucellosis Task Force that they (APHIS) should not attempt to reduce wildlife numbersas it would only backfire. The majority of livestock producers should denounce this action or they will face severe public backlash.

    While serving on the Brucellosis Task Force I have stated my support for trying to discover means to address Brucellosis. Recently, I have been fearful of how APHIS might weigh in on this matter. Brucellosis is predominantly a livestock issue not a wildlife one. I doubt that the public will be willing to see their wildlife resources reduced. Furthermore; if a reduction is warranted, the public is more apt to desire a reduction in livestock rather than wildlife.

  8. dbaileyhill says:

    I will be patiently awaiting for them to shoot their other foot. I believe it is going to happen. In the mean time, I will be handing out info to everyone that crosses my path.
    As far as the protest Vicki, Mack and I were planning, the park person said they never received the application. I would wager that it went out with the trash.
    I am still going to the park and hand out info and talk with folks.

  9. Typical Park Service on permit applications – we had lots of similar experiences in DC with Park Service and other local authorities …

    You don’t need a permit legally to hand out information; frankly, you don’t need one to do a protest – though they’ll insist otherwise.

    However, when push comes to shove, you can shove on this sort of thing. Look at what the Rainbows are able to do every year to the Forest Service; they ultimately gather wherever they choose to gather despite all their protestations.

    I’m glad you aren’t going to let these people push you around.

    When and where exactly is your protest going to be?

  10. bob jackson says:

    For those of you in the Bozeman area who want to discuss more of bison and strategies in person, I am going to be travelling from Iowa to Montana this week end and staying through the 4th. Also I will be making a meat run in conjunction with this trip (gotta pay for the gas ya know)…so if anyone wants meat from native prairie fed, low stress social order bison (in other words the same stuff the Indians ate in the fertile soils Midwest prior to White Man) let me know and I can e mail our inventory of 1/2 and full quarters on hand. 641-874-5794

    P.S. And for those of you public servants in the Park that get bennies for letting administration know I am in the area this is your chance to be the first with the heads up.

  11. BW,

    It is very good to hear this news from you about your position on the statement by this national cattle group.

  12. Salle says:

    I agree with BW’s speculations on public sentiment, I hope that’s the way it will run. My fear is that there are too many complacent folks who are so disconnected from nature that they just don’t get it. I talk to people from all over the US, even in the halls of government and acadamia, who have never heard of this issue, despite all of the years of outright screaming and protesting.

    It’s a shame that the “me generation” hasn’t learned much beyond their own personal soap operas.

    As far as the CA’s proposal; if they don’t get laughed out of the courtroom, there will be no stopping them and no limit to how low they will stoop to get their way in spite of the rights of everybody else in the country.

    Perhaps they should be forced to limit their operations to private lands from now on; “if’n ya don’t have a big enough yard for yer pets (or cattle), then maybe you need to think about gettin’ yersef a bigger yard or else pets (or cattle) that will fit in yer yard. Not the “yard” that belongs to everybody else, like the public’s lands. Otherwise, there is no such thing as “the commons” anymore.

    And if you want disease-free cattle, vaccinate them. Wildlife is no longer wild if it’s rounded up and vaccinated, they shouldn’t be handled at all. Cattle, on the other hand, IS ALREADY domesticated, it is raised for food, period. So if you are in business by raising cattle, accept the costs of doing business. Part of those costs include expecting that if you place your cattle in the wild, you shouldn’t expect the taxpayers to remove all the wildlife for you to further decimate the landscape and jeopardize the ecosystem. We need wildlife a heck of a lot more than cows.

    Stop feeding the beast, boycott beef producers and anyone else who threatens wildlife and wildlife habitat.

    Cows don’t belong on public lands, period. If the cattle are threatening the wildlife, which is usually the case, the exotic species of cattle should be removed and dealt with not the indigenous wildlife (including plants!) populations.

    There is obviously something terribly, terribly wrong in our government and society for this conversation to even come up.

  13. Bob, and anyone in Jackson on June 30, we are holding a forum on advocacy strategies for the buffalo in the Bozeman area in the small conference room of Bozeman Public Library at 6:30 PM. More on our Web site at http://www.buffaloallies.org .

    I’m worried attendance is going to be low – we have a state representative speaking about a bill that should go before the legislature next year – especially in terms of advocacy strategies.

    We really could help getting the word out about this – I am afraid that we are not going to have much of an event unless we hear that more people are attending.

  14. anyone in Bozeman – whoops – had “Bob Jackson” on the brain …

  15. dbaileyhill says:

    Jim M.,
    The date is Saturday, 26 July in the Mammoth area. You may get my email from Ralph, Mack, or Vicki. I would prefer to have an “off-line” discussion. I would really like to know what your experiences have been.

  16. Catbestland says:

    I knew it would happen sooner or later. In the comments on the article our friend? Marion,- yawn,- is trying to blame the spread of brucelosis on predators.

  17. Salle says:

    Ha! Cat,

    I’ve heard that one rather often too. A pretty tired old tale only believable to those who have a problem engaging in independent cognitive functions.

  18. Salle says:

    I’ve also heard the one about how twleve years of wolf presence has cause the Yellowstone area moose to evolve such that they now have more lethal antlers with which to gore wolves…

  19. Steve C says:

    This is why I will never eat beef again. I haven’t so far in 2008 which is a pretty big deal for me since I used to eat it 3-5 times per week. I don’t really miss it either. Ralph needs a round of applause for maintaining the only Marion free zone on the internet. (Marion free status is as important to me as brucellosis free status is to the state of Montana) Anyone who has conversed with her knows exactly what I am talking about…

  20. Catbestland says:

    Simply put, the beef industry is poison to the planet and its wildlife. Thousands of acres of rainforest are clearcut everyday to provide grazing for livestock in South America. In Africa, the beef industry has severed wilderbeast migration corridors and is directly responsible for the threat to cheetahs, lions and elephants and many other species. We all know what the cost is to our North American wildlife heritage. And all this to provide profit to the few producers and steak to the relatively few who can afford it. And that number is quickly shrinking.

  21. Catbestland says:

    Steve C.,
    Amen on the Marion Free Status. Being caught up in the Marion Maze of dialogue is like being trapped in a head banging labyrinth that always ends up with the “poor put upon rancher.”

  22. Indamani says:

    We should all write to the USCA for issuing that asinine press release. Here’s the email address: usca@uscattlemen.org

  23. Heather says:

    That is really where the energy needs to be-not eating beef. However, it would be huge thing for this country to acknowledge what Cat said above. Many people just do not care and do not want to change. One would not need to completely give up beef, as your local organic dairy farmer/beef farmer will do. But the Safeway/Albertsons’ beef… havent had any in 2 or 3 years. I won’t support these people. But I am one of the few.

    I personally am relieved Marion is not allowed on this cite. She is definitely the “leader of the pack” against wolves. What a poor use of energy.

  24. Steve C says:

    I don’t think writing them would do much good. A couple hundred letters would be insignificant to them, even if a hundred thousand people stop eating beef it will be meaningless to them. I am going to take comfort in the fact that thousands of dollars in my lifetime will not go towards this corruption and if I convince a few people along the way it is even better.

    Heather, i feel that people with the opposing viewpoint are valuable in any discussion, but those who push the same propaganda over and over again without listening to the other side have no place in a conversation.

  25. Hey dbHill, I’ll be trying to be in touch by email; this is just the sort of thing that would really interest our group.

    As for meat, I gave it up in all forms in 2000 mostly due to the abuses of Yellowstone buffalo but also a whole host of issues dealing with war and peace and the wasteful use and abuse of land. I have no problem with people who grow and raise their own livestock respectfully or hunt in the wild or get their meat from dumpsters, but I personally have no interest in that anymore, either – not for ethical reasons but simply because I’ve lost interest in eating meat.

    I don’t think a beef boycott will work because it has to be on such a large scale; however, I do think that it’s worth doing because there’s no reason for any of us to give our personal sanction to what’s going on – just choose not to be part of it. If a boycott gets steam, amazing, but if it doesn’t, at least we don’t have to be part of it any more than we already are by being taxpayers and participants in this society.

  26. Virginia says:

    I realize that I will be giving a clue to my age, but I have not purchased or eaten beef for 25+ years – for many reasons – the way the cattle are treated inhumanely (in my opinion), unwillingness to ingest the growth hormones and other chemicals they are fed, the destruction of the rainforests to allow cattle grazing, and just living in cattle country where the almighty cow is king of the lands around here.

    Also, for one who is who fairly new to this site, could you enlighten me as to the identification of “Marion.”

  27. Ann says:

    Check some of the New West articles that have to do with wolves and Bison, Virginia. It’s the easiest way to explain ‘Marion’ . Thing is, she isn’t rancher at all, she raised a handful of sheep at one time(probably 50 years ago) but that wasn’t even in this area, if I’m not mistaken. She thinks that all living wild creatures need to be eliminated. She is a piece of work I must say.

  28. April Clauson says:

    Also, for one who is who fairly new to this site, could you enlighten me as to the identification of “Marion.”

    go to the yellowstone.net web site, she is all over it every day. All you have to do is read a few of her post’s to see what everyone means. And do not even try to debate or get her to see “our” side of things, we are all a bunch of “left wing enviros” to her…She was a sheep rancher and a mid-wife in her day. But I must say, she never gives up and she takes some wonderful wildlife pictures. And she is not against all animals, just wolves…..cause they have destroyed the livelehood of her friends…not her at all just her friends….But be nice folks she is a senior citizen and does deserve a bit of respect!

  29. Heather says:

    Thanks Steve C, I’ll take your opinions into consideration. Propaganda isn’t what I’m aiming for, I am looking for solutions, and always will.

  30. Heather says:

    Steve C, in reading your reply again, I guess I am not sure what you mean by your comment. I know Marion very well, as far as web cites go, and I agree with what has been said here about her. So I am not sure of your intent of your comment….?

  31. Heather says:

    I would give marion respect, even if she is a senior citizen, if she gave it some of her own…

  32. Steve C says:

    I agree with you, heather. I meant that people who disagree with us and engage in intelligent discussion have an important place here. I was trying to say that we shounldnt give the impression with our marion bashing that we don’t want anyone here who does not agree with us 100%. My comment made more sense to me when I wrote it but rereading it, it doesnt…



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey