Animal-Abusing Oswald’s Bear Ranch Forced to End Fundraising Scheme

PETA Called Foul on Sleazy Roadside Zoo, Which Was Misrepresenting Itself as a Sanctuary to Solicit Donations

For Immediate Release:
September 3, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Newberry, Mich.

After PETA submitted a complaint requesting that the Michigan attorney general’s office investigate Oswald’s Bear Ranch for apparently violating the state’s Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act, authorities ordered the roadside zoo to take down its self-promotional “bear club” website, on which Oswald’s—a for-profit corporation that acquires bear cubs from breeders for public encounters—marketed itself as a nonprofit rescue facility in order to solicit donations. Oswald’s failed to remove the website, despite claiming that it had done so, until PETA alerted the attorney general’s office that the facility was continuing to promote the fundraising scheme. The website is now down. See below for additional government actions against the roadside zoo.

“Oswald’s Bear Ranch uses terrified, vulnerable bear cubs as props for photo ops and keeps them in cramped, concrete-floored cages,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA thanks authorities for ensuring that this shameless roadside zoo stop duping well-meaning members of the public into bankrolling animal exploitation.”

Documentation reveals that 80 of the 105 bears taken in by Oswald’s Bear Ranch since 1992 were captive-bred for use in photo ops. The roadside zoo has been cited for physically abusing a cub, allowing a cub to injure a guest, and endangering children by permitting them to hand-feed cubs. Cubs at the facility have been seen pacing, crying out, and biting cages in apparent distress. They’ve also suffered from hair loss, likely from chronic exposure to unyielding concrete, which can also seriously hinder their physical development.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that Oswald’s has slaughtered at least six bears and euthanized at least one for being “mean” and that a representative of the facility said that such bears should be “made into jerky.” Numerous other bears have died there prematurely, including a yearling who was recently shot after escaping from an enclosure.

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