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In Yellowstone Bison Controversy, Would 'Supervaccine' Be A Silver Bullet Solution?

Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk notes that slaughter of bison is really a battle over public land grass with livestock industry

For years, the Montana Department of Livestock, with backing from the state legislature and the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), has ordered that iconic Yellowstone bison be shot or sent to slaughter.  To date over 11,000 have died.  In fact, Yellowstone is under court order to comply.

The basis for the state's argument has been an alleged imminent threat of possible brucellosis disease transmission from bison to private cattle herds. However, in 2017 a blue-ribbon panel of experts with the National Academies of Sciences pointed out that elk, not bison, represent the true disease risk of brucellosis transmission to beef cows. Moreover, state livestock officials and APHIS have, in earlier years, also advanced proposals to vaccinate thousands of park bison against disease.

In this Mountain Journal short story video, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk notes that even if a brucellosis supervaccine were developed, not only would it be folly to target tens of thousands of elk and bison instead of cattle, but that Montana's intolerance toward bison isn't based on disease. Much of it has to do with the livestock industry's reluctance to share grass with bison outside the park, even on public land, where in many areas cattle hold primacy.
 
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