A court date has been set for the protesters arrested at the Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility in Yellowstone National Park.
The group will appear in court Wednesday, March 7, 2018. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the three people arrested are Cody Cyson, Thomas Brown, and Hannah Ponder.
Earlier today, we reported a pair of individuals had locked themselves to the squeeze chute of Stephens Creek, where Yellowstone bison are prepped for shipment to slaughter under the Interagency Bison Management Plan.
The Chronicle does not report who among the trio chained themselves to the chute. It also does not report what the third person is being charged for.
The trio arrested all belong to Wild Buffalo Defense. Accord to the group’s bio, the Wild Buffalo Defense is “a collective of indigenous and non-native organizers dedicated to seeing wild buffalo roam free on the plains.” The group took credit for the incident in a Facebook post, saying the protest was made to highlight conditions for bison in Yellowstone National Park.
According to the Chronicle, the trio were part of a larger protest that included people with signs protesting the culling of Yellowstone bison.
Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin told the Chronicle that operations at Stephens Creek went on following the arrests. Warthin added the park will report later this week how many bison have been shipped to slaughter this year.
The hunting and slaughter of Yellowstone bison is a point of fierce criticism among advocacy groups like Wild Buffalo Defense and environmental orgs that see hunting/slaughter as cruel and unnecessary. From the Chronicle:
In a news release, the Buffalo Field Campaign signaled solidarity with Tuesday’s protest. One of those arrested — Thomas Brown — was a former field campaign volunteer.
Stephany Seay, a spokeswoman for the field campaign, said in the release that they applaud “these courageous souls for sacrificing their freedom to free wild buffalo and to draw more attention to this atrocious trap.”
“This action should send another strong message to Yellowstone National Park that there are many people who strongly oppose the current mismanagement of this American icon,” Seay said.
Today’s arrests come after several incidents at Stephens Creek. In January, 52 bison escaped the facility after someone cut the fence holding them in. Fences were cut again in February, releasing over 70 bison, although most returned to the pen. The National Park Service has opened criminal investigations into each incident and the park has said they will increase security around Stephens Creek, although he park has not said what this would entail.