The Buffalo War covers the ongoing controversy over the management of the bison herd in Yellowstone National Park. In the winter when snows are high, bison wander from Yellowstone to other public lands rented for grazing by farmers. Because the buffalo carry a disease called brucellosis, farmers worry that it will spread to their cattle. Since 1985, Montana state officials have exterminated over 3,000 buffalo to protect Montana cattle from brucellosis. Opponents claim that there are no documented cases of transmission of the disease in the state. They protest the policy by steering the bison away from testing sites, or by chaining themselves to bridges to prevent passage by officials. Others have been content to film the actions of state officials and publicize them. Some protests are more symbolic. A Native American group ventured on a 500-mile spiritual trek to bring attention to the plight of the buffalo. Many maintain that the real conflict has nothing to do with brucellosis, but is a battle between commerce and conservation. The Buffalo War offers even coverage, allowing all parties to tell their side.
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