A young man who used civil disobedience to draw attention to the slaughter of bison in Yellowstone National Park has been convicted of his misdemeanor charges, ordered to pay a fine, and sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation. He has also been banned from the park.
A plan to cull the bison herd in Yellowstone National Park drew fire over the winter, and frustrated with the slaughter plan, 21-year-old Comfrey Jacobs installed himself as a one-man blockade on the road to the killing place, handcuffing himself to a 55-gallon drum filled with concrete, and stringing wire-mesh webbing across the roadway entrance, according to the Buffalo Field Campaign.
Jacobs was arrested, arraigned and later convicted after pleading guilty on June 20 to the misdemeanor charge of interfering with an agency function while blocking an access road to Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap in March.
The Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer will pay $355 restitution—the cost of dismantling his blockade, which consisted of a cement-filled barrel that he handcuffed himself to—as well as a $500 fine, plus a so-called community service payment of $2,500 to a Yellowstone National Park-affiliated foundation, the campaign said in a media release. The latter fine, the campaign said, was to offset money that Jacobs had received in public support.
“The community service payment was a suggestion pressed by the U.S. government, and accepted by the judge after learning that Mr. Jacobs had received financial support from the public,” the Buffalo Field Campaign said in its statement, adding that that part of the sentence was being appealed.
The buffalo slaughter was conducted to reduce the risk of brucellosis transmission to cattle, even though buffalo have never been shown to be a vector to livestock. The practice generated controversy even though tribes were allowed to conduct part of the hunt, and received the meat to use for traditional purposes.
In the video below, Jacobs, who is not Native, explains his feelings of helplessness at watching bison being herded, shot from helicopters and just plain harassed, and how it led him to undertake an act of civil disobedience.