Bison Killings Spark Montana Boycott Drive

NEW YORK -- A group named the Fund for Animals and Plants, based here, has taken out a quarter-page advertisement in USA Today newspaper calling for a boycott of tourism to Montana in the wake of recent bison killings by the state.

According to Montana officials, the Montana Department of Livestock is forced to kill off bison leaving Yellowstone National Park in order to eliminate the possibility of brucellosis spreading to the state's cattle stock.

Regulations prohibit the transport across state lines of cattle that have not been declared brucellosis-free by the federal Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.

"The Fund for Animals and Plants has been off-and-on active on this issue since, I'd say, the late 1980s," said Victor Bjornberg, publicity coordinator of the Montana Travel Promotion Division.

"From past experience, there really hasn't been a great impact. In the last nine years, we've had record numbers of visitors."

A total of 733 bison have been killed so far this winter, according to the Fund for Animals and Plants.

In response to the criticism, Bjornberg said the Department of Livestock has increased its efforts of trying to phase the animals back into the park.

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