Most Meat Alternatives Contain ‘Excessive’ Amounts of Salt, Study Says

A recent study revealed that a significant number of vegan- and vegetarian-friendly alternative meat products have “excessive” levels of salt compared to their conventional meat counterparts. 

As some consumers transition to more plant-based diets, food companies are hurrying to market meat substitutes that mimic the experience of traditional meat products.

Soy-based burgers, chicken-less nuggets, and non-meat bacon and sausages are increasingly popping up on grocery shelves to meet heightening consumer interest.

Often times, shoppers will reach for meat substitutes for health or environmental reasons, but those same consumers seeking a healthier diet may be surprised to find that meat substitutes often contain more sodium than the meat products they are designed to replace.

According to the American Heart Association, high sodium diets can increase blood pressure which may lead to cardiovascular issues such as greater risk for heart disease and stroke.

Recent data suggest that the majority of Americans (75%) are looking for food products that contain lower levels of sodium.

Across the ocean, the UK group, Action on Salt, based at Queen Mary University in London and comprised mainly of nutrition, public health and medical experts, published a 2018 study that found that about 28% of 157 meat substitute products evaluated contain higher salt levels than the maximum 2017 sodium targets established by the UK government.

In addition, the organization also discovered that meat-free burgers contain, on average, more salt than traditional meat burgers.
(Cargill, Inc.)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Mammoth Site wants Horn donations for trunk kits

Mammoth Site wants Horn donations for trunk kits

Education has always been a key component of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs’ mission.

To that end, the “Mammoth-in-a-Trunk” kits were created to bring the science of The Mammoth Site to schools across the country, at an affordable cost.

Each “Mammoth-in-a-Trunk” kit contained materials for a class that taught concepts of varying complexity, from erosion and fossilization to what paleontologists can learn from a prehistoric animal’s teeth.

Following this tradition, the “Bison-in-a-Box” kit will contain materials to teach students of all ages about bison, an animal that traces its origins to the Pleistocene.

The kits will not only contain educational materials about the fossil history of bison, but also their importance in a modern context.

Bison-in-a-Box will give students a chance to explore what makes a bison a bison, the relationship between bison and cattle, and what the fossils of bison can tell us about the Pleistocene environment.

As with the educational kits we currently offer, these will be offered to schools at no cost to them, other than return shipping.

We are asking the members of the NBA in helping us in creating the Bison-in-a-Box kits.

We are currently in need of 10 Bison Horns (Horn Core and Horn Sheath) they don’t have to be large. This will give students throughout the country the opportunity to touch and hold an actual bison horn.

You can either ship them to The Mammoth Site or simply drop them off at our booth at The Winter Conference next month. Seth Vandenberg, our Science Educator will be sharing the prototype of the Bison-in-a-Box at the conference.

Thank you for your consideration in helping us with these new educational kits.


Presston R. Gabel, MBA
COO/Business Manager
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD
(Posted Dec 16, 2021 by National Bison Association )       

Hundreds of volunteers gather for annual bison roundup at Antelope island

Over 220 volunteers on horseback gathered at Antelope Island in Davis County, Utah, last October for their annual bison roundup. Hundreds more folks came to watch.

Robert DeRosa, who moved to Utah from New York City in 2020, brought his 12-year-old granddaughter to catch a glimpse of the bison herd.

“You can’t do Antelope Island and miss the bison round up,” said DeRosa.

“I’ve seen a few before but never like this close,” said DeRosa’s granddaughter.

Jeff Nichols has been a cowboy in the round up for at least nine years.

“Where else can you herd buffalo?” said Nichols. “We’re a group that’s been born 100 years too late. We’re much more comfortable in this than we are in front of a computer screen.”

Steve Bates, a wildlife biologist who has worked at Antelope Island for twenty years, said they had earlier used helicopters to bring in the bison, but they learned real cowboys and cowgirls are better for the buffalos’ health.

“With the horses, there’s stress involved but not near to the extent of using helicopters,” said Bates. “We can get to working with the animals a whole lot quicker, so we don’t have to hold them in the corals as long.”

Antelope Island targets a total of 500 bison, so after the round up and vet checks, they send the extra 250 or so bison to auction.

“Bison is just a fantastic animal, just an iconic species. Being able to work with them is very satisfying,” said Bates.

Despite the drought last summer and fall, the bison were not negatively affected, he added.

Bates and other biologists worked the bison for three days, which were open to the public.

(Erin Cox Oct 30, 2021; Fox13, Salt Lake City.)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

It’s a Girl! Bison Herd at Wanuskewin Heritage Park Welcomes New Member

It’s a Girl! Bison Herd at Wanuskewin Heritage Park Welcomes New Member

bonus baby bison joined the herd at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, in September 2021. Photo Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Wanuskewin Heritage Park welcomed back Plains buffalo on Jan 17, 2020 after nearly 150 years since bison grazed on the land where the Park now stands—on the outskirts of Saskatoon.

Elder Cy Standing of the Wahpeton Dakota Nation welcomed eleven plains bison to their ancestral home on the outskirts of Saskatoon.

A partnership—which includes Parks Canada, Wanuskewin and Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.—brought the animals back. They included six female calves from Grasslands National Park, four pregnant females and a mature bull from Yellowstone National Park.

“Bison almost became extinct. There were less than 1,000 animals in the late 1800s,” said University of Saskatchewan Prof. Ernest Walker.

The park’s chief executive officer said bringing in the animals could help in its bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and will help provide world-class programming at the park.

“And the ability to draw people from all over the world to the park. Having a … species like the bison here is just a wonderful opportunity,” Darlene Brander said.

“I’m sure our elders from the early 1980s, wherever they are, are smiling. We did it. We came through for them 40 years later,” Walker added.

Wanuskewin received a $5-million donation from the Brownlee Family Foundation which is going towards the conservation effort and making sure the bison thrive.

The park’s leadership reported that it has been thinking about bringing the animals back to roam the area for decades, but funding and administrative hurdles proved to be difficult.

The park aims to have a herd of 50 bison after a number of years.

Fast forward to fall 2021. Much has been accomplished.

The herd has grown to 17. And, on September 12th, well past calving season, the ‘bonus baby’ bison girl was born–healthy and with a very protective mama!

Even more exciting, the site’s 19 dig sites though the hills and coulees have revealed tipi rings, stone cairns, pottery fragments, bones, a medicine wheel and other items. The excavations give a hint of the secrets of the bustling life that once dominated the area.

The repatriated herd now roams Wanuskewin’s expanse of historical lands and can be spotted by lucky visitors to the Park.

The growing lineage of these animals on this sacred land is the fruit of Parks Canada’s efforts to re-wild a selection of protected spaces across the country.

The bison can be viewed by passersby year-round on self-guided walking tours of the park and special event tours. They are a majestic reminder of the deep, historical significance of Wanuskewin.

Dating back 6000 years, the land was a meeting place for northern plains people from all around North America.

Archaeological finds, dating back to before the Egyptian pyramids, show that virtually every pre-contact cultural group in the Great Plains visited the area.

The reintroduction of plains bison to their ancestral home is a reflection of Wanuskewin’s deep and unique commitment ‘to be a living reminder of the peoples’ sacred relationship with the land.’

The arrival of a new calf is both a connection to the past and a living, breathing reminder of what is possible in the present.

Interpretive Centre at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. When walking the grounds visitors find themselves at the bottom of a steep cliff directly beneath dramatic peaks. They stand at the foot of the buffalo jump where thousands of plains bison were driven to their deaths over the span of centuries.

Visitors do not come to Wanuskewin just for informational plaques and stories of artifacts, though these things do exist in its state-of-the-art interpretive centre.

Rather, they are drawn into a land of subtle beauty that holds the remnants of a sacred, heart-stopping ritual—the buffalo hunt.

When walking the grounds of Wanuskewin, visitors will shortly find themselves at the bottom of a steep cliff directly beneath the dramatic peaks of the interpretive centre. True to the unassuming nature of the park, the land itself reveals nothing more than native plants and a green hillside.

But that exact spot is the foot of the ‘buffalo jump’ where hundreds if not thousands of plains bison were driven to their deaths over the span of centuries.
Truly the highlight of any visit to Wanusekwin is simply pausing at this spot and honoring the vision of stampeding animals and the people that used their hides, bones and flesh to survive.

2022 International Bison Conference in Saskatoon

The International Bison Conference will be held in Saskatoon July 12-15, 2022. Hosted by the Canadian Bison Association, in partnership with the Saskatchewan and US National Bison Associations. The convention is held in Canada every 10 years and will welcome close to 800 delegates who are stakeholders in the bison community including producers, chefs, consumers, researchers, conservationists, marketers and policy makers.

Get the details and register at Listen to inspirational speakers on bison history, conservation, research, marketing and the business of bison. Also, you will have the opportunity to visit local landmarks including Wanuskewin Heritage Park before, during, or after the convention. Learn, network and celebrate!

(Above news reported from Saskatoon Jan 17, 2020 to Oct 2021.)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Welcome back home: Bison return to Rocky Boy Reservation

The Daily Montanan, by Keith Schubert – October 27, 2021

Eleven Buffalo arrive on Rocky Boy Reservation as the start of a new herd. Chippewa Cree people gathered to welcome them.

BOX ELDER — Jason Belcourt said he teared up when the first of 11 buffalo arrived at the Rocky Boy reservation on Sunday night as part of an effort to reintroduce bison on the reservation, which have been absent from the land since the late 1990s.

“He jumped off the trailer went into the round pen, pawed and sniffed at the ground, and looked up at me,” he said. “It was a pretty powerful moment. That’s when I knew we did what we needed to do.”

Belcourt, the Chippewa Cree tribal sustainability coordinator, has been working with the tribe’s buffalo board and council, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the American Prairie Reserve for two years to establish a buffalo herd on the reservation.

The efforts came to fruition on Tuesday when hundreds of people gathered on the reservation and clung to the fence of the 1,200-acre pasture in anticipation of the bisons’ arrival.

Hundreds of people gathered on the reservation and clung to the fence of the 1,200-acre pasture waiting for the buffalo arrival.

With local drum group the Montana Cree playing in the background, people cheered as the 11 bison — six from APR and five from the CSKT — bolted from a holding pen and trampled out into their new home. The 2.5 to 3.5-year-old bison became quickly acquainted in the pen. When the gate opened they paused for a moment before taking off into the distance.

As the bison ran off, Belcourt high-fived and hugged everyone around him, including Melvin Morsette Jr., chairman of the tribe’s buffalo board.

“It was awesome. Absolutely awesome. Exhilarating. Emotional,” Morsette said. “It’s a good feeling to have them home. They’re one of the top deities, one of the top gods … in our spirituality they’re one of the main ones.”

Chippewa Cree buffalo board and other leaders pose for a photo at the bison donation event.

The day’s activities began with a pipe ceremony conducted by tribal elders. Throughout the day tribal leaders gave speeches and dances were performed to the drumming by the Montana Cree.

A day later, Belcourt said he is still processing Tuesday’s event.

“I can’t even put it into words,” he said. “It was just an emotionally charged day. Lots of hugs. Lots of thankfulness.”

After the bison disappeared into the horizon, a bald eagle — another significant animal in Native American culture — came into view soaring above.

“The eagle was just another good omen that we managed to do something really grand,” Belcourt said.

Two hundred years ago, roughly 30 million bison roamed North America from Central Canada to Mexico. Now, only an estimated 360,000 remain in the same area, with less than 10 percent living in conservation herds and the vast majority being raised for commercial purposes.

“It’s a healing thing to bring these animals back to where they once roamed in the thousands,” said Shannon Clairmont, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, who helped organize transferring six bison from CSKT to the Rocky Boy Reservation.

Clairmont said Montana tribes have long been pushing for the management of bison. In the 1800s, millions of bison were slaughtered by white settlers. Since then, CSKT and other tribal partners have worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore the population.

“In the past, the bison were part of part of our living. They gave us everything. They gave us food for the winter. They gave us shelter with their hides. They gave us clothing with their hides. And then they gave us also tools,” he said. “I was glad to see them come to another Montana tribe.”

The bison donated by CKST share the same genetics as those that roamed the land in the past, Clairmont said. “These bison here are relatives of the original bison here that were on the plains. It has been a long journey for them, but they’ve made it full circle.”

Senior Bison Restoration Manager for the American Prairie Reserve Scott Heidebrink was in attendance Tuesday. “This is amazing because most of the time, we’re supplementing into herds, and so actually being on the ground floor starting a herd is really special,” he said.

The prairie reserve started in 2005 aiming to bring back a bison population that had been absent from the landscape for more than 120 years. Now, it has a herd of 813 and has donated 404 to tribal and conservation herds.

Of those donations, 242 have been to Montana tribes — 87 to the Fork Peck Indian Reservation, 81 to the Blackfeet Nation, 74 to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, and now five more to the Rocky Boy Reservation.

Belcourt said he hopes the bison will help restore a sense of cultural pride for native youth.

“When you hear about a young person taking their life, I can’t help but think it’s from the trauma induced by efforts to strip of us of our culture,” he said. “This buffalo is going to remind us of our language, culture, and the teachings that we are not to hurt ourselves.”

Kids from Rocky Boy and Box Elder schools were bused in on Tuesday to witness the donation.

“It’s a historical event and I’m thankful for the kids to be able to witness it,” said Dustin Whitford, the tribe’s language preservation officer. But, he said, it’s not just about the bison.

“We can’t just preserve the existence of buffalo here; the language has to go along with it,” he said. “‘Pahskahmotos’ is the word we use for the Buffalo. And we consider it to be like a grandfather or grandmother. That’s how much we respect them.”

Of the 7,000 enrolled people, Whitford estimated there are only around 120 fluent speakers on the reservation, nearly all of which are elders.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Rounds, Heinrich Introduce Indian Buffalo Management Act

NBA Weekly Update for October 29, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the bipartisan Indian Buffalo Management Act, legislation to create a permanent buffalo program at the U.S. Department of the Interior and help promote and develop tribal capacity to manage buffalo.

 “The American buffalo is a treasured animal and resource for Native American communities across the United States,” said Rounds. “The Indian Buffalo Management Act gives tribes the capacity to manage their buffalo populations, utilize the many benefits from buffalo and provide input into federal buffalo management policy. I am committed to helping tribes in South Dakota restore their historical and cultural ties to buffalo herds and make certain that this is a meaningful step for Native American communities.” 

“The American buffalo, or bison, is central to the culture and history of many of our tribal nations, including a number in New Mexico,” said Heinrich. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Rounds to provide Tribal communities with access to additional resources and opportunities to manage these revered animals and restore their habitat.”

“The Indian Buffalo Management Act will restore the cultural, historical, spiritual and traditional connection between buffalo and tribal people; create employment and economic opportunities; and provide the Tribe with access to traditional, healthy and self-sustaining food source,” said Clyde Estes, Chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. “We thank Senator Rounds for working with us and listening to our request of introducing this important legislation in the United States Senate.”

“Our goal has always been to expand our buffalo herd to produce one large enough to supplement our Food Distribution Program, to assist our elders when they need buffalo meats or parts for a ceremony and to work with our local schools to aid in the educational benefits of buffalo restoration,” said Mike Faith, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Vice Chairman of the InterTribal Buffalo Council. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senator Rounds and his colleagues in introducing this legislation that will help us reach those goals. As the Lakota Holy Man, John Fire Lame Deer once said, ‘The Buffalo gave us everything we needed.’ This legislation is therefore a very positive development.”

“Senators Rounds, Heinrich and the others who have stepped up to introduce this bill are to be commended,” said Ervin Carlson, President of the InterTribal Buffalo Council headquartered in Rapid City. “It is simply impossible to overstate both the importance of the buffalo to the Indian people and the damage that was done when the buffalo were nearly wiped out. By helping tribes reestablish buffalo herds on our reservation lands, the Congress will help us reconnect with a keystone of our historic culture as well as create jobs and an important source of protein that our people truly need.” 

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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