Is there a difference between Bison and Buffalo? Aren’t they the same thing?
We get this question quite a lot, actually, as the masters in the marketing world easily blur the line between products made from genuine American Bison and Water Buffalo products imported from India. Whether it’s western themed packaging, or catchy wording like “100% Free Range Grass Fed Buffalo”, it can be downright difficult for the consumer to really know what they are giving their 4 legged family members.
I recently visited a pet store where they had 100% Free Range Grass Fed Buffalo Bones for a very attractive price. The package did not list the country of origin and a customer asked why our Bison Marrow Bones were so much more expensive. With the country of origin or manufacture missing completely, how would this customer know they were about to buy an Indian Water Buffalo bone?
American Bison (Bison Bison) are native to North America and have only recently been domesticated (within the past 150 years) and are a completely different species to cattle or water buffalo. We all grew up calling them Buffalo, as the word came from french trappers who called them bœufs. This transformed into “buffalo” throughout America.
Asian Water Buffalo (Bulbalus Bulbalis) are domesticated and raised for thousands of years in Asia as work animals. Once they have outlived their usefulness, they are harvested for food.
We recommend doing your homework when selecting products and look for the word “BISON” on ingredient labels. Ask questions, look for country of origin on the labels and just know that “Tested in the USA” is not the same as “Born N Grazed In the USA”.