The story of the buffalo fascinates me because it is full of contradictions: a wild animal was brought to the brink of extinction, but is now farmed for its meat; that meat had a profound role in the history of our province, but is now marketed only as a “healthy red meat alternative.” It’s extremely hard to reconcile the buffalo’s past with its present.
A Quick Note on Terminology
To the scientific community, the animals in question are bison, not buffalo. Our bison are a distinct genus, quite separate from the dairy buffalo of Campania, or the water buffalo of the Savannah.
With all due respect to structural biologists, I usually use the word “buffalo” anyways, because “buffalo” has more significance to North American ears. The buffalo meat we buy at the market is very much related to “the buffalo hunt” and “Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump” and even “Buffalo Bill”. The word “bison,” though perhaps more accurate, distances us from that history. You’ll notice that all modern producers use the term “bison” for that very reason.
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