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From the News Archives...

Raising bison for show

Large numbers of bison are now being raised for meat animals, thanks to growing consumer awareness of the nutritional advantages of the meat. But most bison ranchers send their calves to the feedlots and fatten them on grain. Young bull calves being primed for shows are given extra doses of grain to bulk up their weight, according to a recent article in The Western Producer. A decade ago, a bull calf brought to the annual show would weigh around 500 pounds. Today, the same spring calf may tip 750 pounds, partly due to intensive graining. "It's human nature to think that you can improve on things," Mike Edgar, an Alberta bison rancher told a reporter for The Western Producer. But he and others are worried that giving an overload of grain to bison will damage their livers and reduce their fertility. "We don't want to turn out bulls that are merely good converters [of grain to fat]" he warned.

This new trend is yet another indication that bison may be going the way of cattle.

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