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HELENA — Seventeen congressmen have signed a letter to the head of the National Park Service urging a new bison management plan for Yellowstone National Park.

The main authors, Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Maurice Hinchey of New York, are calling on the park service to reduce the slaughter of animals that have not been confirmed as carrying disease.

The current Interagency Bison Management Plan requires the slaughter of animals suspected of being infected with the disease brucellosis.

Grijalva and Hinchey say that has led to the slaughter of 3,500 bison since 2000.

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In the letter sent Tuesday to NPS Director Jon Jarvis, they say the park service and partner agencies have been managing Yellowstone bison like livestock. They say the last purebred wild bison herd deserves better management.

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