“It’s about respect.” Actor Michael Keaton knows that when it comes to animals, it’s really as simple as that.
In a PETA public service announcement (PSA), the man known for bringing cultural icons such as Batman and Beetlejuice to life on screen is asking people to employ common sense and stop using bear cubs and other wild animals as photo props.
“In the wild, bear cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years. But across the country, cubs are being taken from their mothers as infants, to be used as photo props by profit-hungry exhibitors,” Keaton explains in the video PSA.
In their natural homes, bear cubs play, explore, and socialize with one another and their mothers for several years. But cubs living at shady facilities such as Yellowstone Bear World and Oswald’s Bear Ranch don’t get the chance to live out their lives as nature intended. Instead, when they aren’t being used for photo ops or carted around to crowded events, they’re typically confined to cramped cages, where they often cry out, pace aimlessly, or bite the cage bars. Reputable animal behavior and welfare experts report that the types of encounters offered at such facilities are highly disruptive to curious and vulnerable bear cubs, have lifelong physical and psychological consequences for bears, and put cubs’ health at risk.
During an interview with PETA, Keaton talks about observing bears in the wild—where they belong—and makes a plea to help Bosco, a bear confined to a virtually barren concrete pit at Pymatuning Deer Park in his home state of Pennsylvania. “I just don’t like when their respect is taken away,” the actor said in a video interview. “[And] I really don’t like when people treat them as a kind of prop or something for our entertainment.”
How You Can Help
You can help bears and other animals by refusing to visit roadside zoos or any other establishments that offer photo ops with wild animals. And if you see someone post a photo with a wild animal on social media, please comment and remind them that these animals are suffering behind the scenes.