With all the focus on the Affordable Care Act changes coming January 1, other policy changes we could see next year have gone largely unnoticed.
Early next year, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and Department of Livestock will decide whether bison could be roaming free year-round on more than as 400,000 acres next to Yellowstone. They could also decide that nothing will change, and small existing bison zones will remain in place.
Either option is sure to upset Montana state Senator John Brenden, who demonstrated the GOP’s amazing grasp of culture, race, and science on April 11th, 2013, during his SB 143 hearing before the House Ag. Committee, when he compared wild bison in Montana to heathens, and domesticated bison to Christians:
“They are maintaining that bison from Yellowstone National Park are wildlife. There’s been bills and discussions put in, that once they are in captivity, they become domesticated, or they’re livestock. If I knew the exact transition, the moment that you go from being a heathen into a Christian, I don’t know that answer. It’s a very difficult one.”
Brenden’s comments invoke the views of white colonizers toward American Indians, who–along with the bison–were often targeted for extermination. He also said of the only genetically pure bison left (those not bred with cattle):
“Why do you want to spread this creeping cancer, these woolly tanks, around the state of Montana?” he asked. “Trying to bring back the buffalo in big herds across Montana is like bringing back dinosaurs. And who wants dinosaurs in Montana? I certainly don’t.”
Brendon’s bill, which basically classified bison “vermin . . . in need of extermination” was one of 14 anti-bison bills brought to the floor this past legislative session.