AR-News: Protest Against Buffalo Slaughter at Custer State Park
wolffnm at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 23 08:35:22 EDT 2003
Custer State Park preparing for protest at buffalo
Sept. 23, 2003
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Officials at Custer State Park are
preparing for possible protests from American Indian
activists during this year's buffalo roundup.
The park called in additional law enforcement for this
weekend's roundup after threats of a protest were
received earlier this year, said park manager Ronald
The messages began with a letter in February that
mentioned cutting the fences that enclose the herd in
the fall. Then in May, an article in the Black Hills
People's News was found posted a handful of times
inside the park, Walker said.
The article was a commentary by activist David Seals
and referred to the selling of part of the park's herd
as "genocide" and called for "ongoing guerrilla
encampments ... at the Wildlife Loop."
Seals also wrote a letter to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.,
protesting buffalo slaughter and opening wilderness
areas to logging, according to the Custer County
The park's buffalo herd numbers more than 1,000 and is
the main attraction for tourists. Managers round up
the herd each fall for vaccinations and blood tests.
They also sell animals to meat producers and other
This year's roundup is Monday, with celebrations
planned during the weekend.
Walker said drought has killed about 20 calves this
year and exacerbated water contamination and hoof rot
disease. But officials say the article and letters are
more worrying because of their vague threats.
Park officials responded to Seals' article by closing
a visitors' center near the buffalo corrals for about
a week in June. The article had suggested occupying
The messages stopped during the summer, but the park
is still taking precautions, Walker said.
"We can't ignore them," Walker said. "We have to
prepare as if something is going to happen."
Freeing buffalo from their pens would not benefit the
animals, Walker said, and the letter sent to the park
does not give details about other possible protests.
"They don't really talk a lot about the herd," he
said. "There has been stuff referenced, everything
from cutting the rain forest (to) the typical
animal-rights issues. I've seen them talk about the
Yellowstone (buffalo) issue. It's kind of like it's
all rolled into one big bag."
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