Buffalo Massacre in Texas – QB Ranch
In Texas, or anywhere for that matter, property owners have every authority to ensure that their property, including belongings and land, is not, in any way, intruded upon by anybody or anything. Texans have this authority under the Texas Penal Code.
The law is clear that if there is an intruder in your home and is threatening your livelihood – the use of deadly force to protect yourself and your property is permitted. The law is blurred when it isn’t a person overstepping your property, but rather, animals or livestock. Under the Texas Livestock Law, prior to September 2013, cows, pigs, horses, even rhinos and elephants, considered livestock, were protected under Texas agriculture code.. As a result of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session in 2013, Senate Bill 174, authored by Senator Craig Estes, the existing agriculture code was modified to include the national mammal of the United States, bison.
Yes, bison, the recently trendy meat alternative to beef from cattle because it is perceived to be healthier to eat, is now officially considered livestock and is protected under Texas agriculture code. What this means is if bison happen to wander onto somebody else’s property, whoever finds them must make an effort to locate their owner. If unsuccessful, local authorities must hold the livestock, and may sell them at public auction if after two weeks, they fail to locate the owner.
The modification to the Texas agricultural code was prompted after a 2010 incident that resulted in the slaughter of over 50 bison in rural West Texas.
In King County, located about 110 miles east of Lubbock, Texas, is the QB Game Ranch, a 22,000 – acre recreational ranch, comprised of various terrain from dense mesquite flats, rolling hills, mesa hilltops, countless large, rugged canyons lined with cedar and shin oak ridges, as well as multiple creeks and ponds to allow for the raising and hunting of recreational animals in addition to the natural wildlife.
In January 2010, 120 bison escaped QB Ranch through a gap in the fence and wandered onto Niblo Ranch. It was here where 51 out of the 120 bison would be slaughtered. The ranch foreman took it upon himself to ruthlessly gun down 51 bison for trespassing. The foreman freely admitted to shooting down and killing the bison. In a small county like King County, this story picked up steam and attention from the local news media. Media helicopters flew over the two ranches and shot video of the dozens of dead bison, left to rot where they were killed.
Does this seem excessive or necessary?
A ranch foreman deemed it necessary, and 51 bison paid the ultimate price.
The owner and operator of the QB Ranch, Wayne Kirk, took the foreman to court over the slaughter of his bison. Unfortunately, because of Texas law at the time, bison were not protected under the livestock law. It was legal for the foreman to shoot the bison once they were off their owner’s property. The QB Ranch was one of the few places in Texas with American Buffalo roaming the land; now, the remaining animals will roam a small pen instead.
A terrible injustice was committed against Wayne Kirk, and the courts allowed it to happen. In an effort to prevent this sort of incident from happening again, Kirk sought protection for bison, much like any other livestock. Kirk was personally invested and involved in drafting a bill that would include bison in Texas’s Livestock Law. It was a successful venture, as a bill was successfully passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session in 2013 modifying the Texas agricultural code to identify bison as livestock.
While some may see this as a business move to simply protect his investments in livestock, Kirk has a longstanding history in caring for animals. For over thirty years, Wayne Kirk has been operating horse ranches and related charities including Majestic Ranch in Dallas, TX, the QB Ranch, the Frisco Horse Park, Storybook Ranch, River Ranch Educational Charities, and most recently the Texas Horse Park in Dallas, TX.
Since Kirk was a child, all he thought about was raising and ranching horses. He owned his first horse at age 5 and owned 14 horses by the time he was 18 that he paid for through bailing and selling hay. He deeply cares about nature and the environment, which is evident through the numerous non-profit charities he operates, such as River Ranch Educational Charities, whose mission is to conserve nature and provide the experience of the ranch life and horse world that might otherwise be unavailable to the general public and especially to the underprivileged and special needs communities.
At Storybook Ranch, an equestrian home and entertainment facility, Kirk offers to the public the opportunity to experience the “wild west,” horse camps, all while educating the importance of conserving nature and caring for these wild animals. Kirk never hesitates to take in rescue horses and other malnourished animals such as donkeys, goats, chickens, pigs, etc., and dedicates his efforts to ensuring each animal at any of his ranches receive appropriate care. When others wouldn’t spend their resources on wounded or old animals, Wayne Kirk selflessly takes in these animals and nurses them back to health.
People may have a misconception about Wayne Kirk or doubt his methods, but the truth is he has dedicated his life to caring for horses and other animals. Even while he operated a commercial construction company for over twenty years in the City of Dallas, his goal was always to provide the community and youth with a place and opportunity to learn about horses and nature. It is safe to say he has accomplished that.