OK, I know that National Bison Month is really a campaign run by the National Bison Association to highlight eating the animal rather than preserving it, but since I A. hate the idea of eating bison and B. think that dedicating a national holiday after an animal should mean celebrating the animal itself and not its hide on your tongue, I’d rather highlight this month by providing a glimpse into the amazing creature, and some suggestions on how to protect it.
Now I’m not a full vegetarian, so I’ll try not to be a hypocrite when I say that eating bison just seems so wrong to me—like eating the American version of the elephant, or eating bear, you know what I mean? It was one thing when people had to kill animals like that to survive, but we don’t need to do that today.
The bison is, in fact, larger than a bear—it’s the biggest land animal in North America. While a lot of people think that bison are buffalo, they’re really only related to the buffalo. When you think back into our country’s history, you might imagine wild bison, horses and other creatures across the plains… Call me nostalgic, but I’d rather have that incredible view than the massive animal on a bun.
Then there’s the fact that we hunted them almost to extinction during the 19th century; do you think if we “brought back” the dodo we’d continue to hunt it? Sadly, the answer would probably be yes—just as we do the bison today.
Today’s protected bison in Yellowstone Park aren’t exactly fully protected. Just this June, four bulls were killed in Montana because they migrated out of the park. Three were sent to slaughter—instead of back to the park where they belonged—and one was shot and hacked up right in the field.
Even if you do eat bison or have no problem with it, killing protected wild bison when there are plenty already raised for food isn’t warranted for that. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, hundreds are killed every winter; last year, 1,600 were killed for migrating beyond the park. You can learn more about protecting Yellowstone’s bison and make donations here.
You can also protest the hazing and killing of bison every year through the National Resource Defense Council’s automated e-mail system. Just plug in your name and address and click send.