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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> American Bison

The American Bison

Bison, is a bovine mammal that is the largest terrestrial mammal in North America.

The bison inhabited the Great Plains of the United States and Canada in massive herds, ranging from the Great Slave Lake in Canada's far north to Mexico in the south, and from eastern Oregon almost to the Atlantic Ocean, taking its subspecies into account.


Also see: Bison Recipes

Its two subspecies are the Plains Bison (Bison bison bison), distinguished by its flat back, and the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae), distinguished by its large humped back.

The Bison is also commonly known as the American Buffalo, although it is only distantly related to either the Water Buffalo or African Buffalo.

Bison are now raised for meat and hides. Over 250,000 of the 350,000 remaining bison are being raised for human consumption. Bison meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef which has led to the development of beefalo, a fertile cross-breed of bison and domestic cattle. In 2005, about 35,000 bison were processed for meat in the U.S., with the National Bison Association and USDA providing a "Certified American Buffalo" program with birth-to-consumer tracking of bison via RFID ear tags.

Recent genetic studies of privately-owned herds of bison show that many of them include animals with genes from domestic cattle; there are as few as 12,000 to 15,000 pure bison in the world. The numbers are uncertain because the tests so far used mitochondrial DNA analysis, and thus would miss cattle genes inherited in the male line; most of the hybrids look exactly like purebred bison.

The American Bison was depicted on the reverse side of the U.S. "buffalo nickel" from 1913 to 1938. In 2005 the United States Mint coined a nickel with a new depiction of the bison as part of its "Westward Journey" series and the Kansas quarter with a depiction of the bison on its reverse as part of its "50 State Quarter" series. The Kansas State Quarter only has the bison and does not feature any writing, the only one like this so far.

The bison is a symbol of Manitoba, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Bucknell University, the University of Colorado, Lipscomb University, Marshall University, the Independence Party of Minnesota, and North Dakota State University. It is also commonly used as a symbol of the City of Buffalo, New York although the city was not named for the animal. The bison is also the state animal of Oklahoma.

Custer State Park in South Dakota is home to 1500 bison, one of the largest publicly-held herds in the world.

A proposal known as Buffalo Commons has been suggested by a handful of academics and policymakers to restore large parts of the drier portion of the Great Plains to native prairie grazed by bison. Proponents argue that current agricultural use of the short grass prairie is not sustainable, pointing to periodic disasters such as the Dust Bowl and continuing significant population loss over the last 60 years. However, this plan is opposed by virtually everyone who lives in the area and has never advanced beyond preliminary studies.

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods - Kosher Recipes