Bear Attack Prompts Appeal to State Fair: Nix Grizzly Act

PETA Calls On Bangor State Fair to Cancel 'A Grizzly Experience' Just One Week After Handler Is Clawed by a Bear

For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2017

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Bangor, Maine – PETA sent an urgent letter this morning calling on the Cross Insurance Center, which runs the Bangor State Fair, to cancel plans to host “A Grizzly Experience,” which is scheduled to appear at the fair this weekend. The appeal comes just a week after a young grizzly bear used in the act clawed a handler’s face in front of frightened spectators at the Saratoga County Fair in New York.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that exhibitor Dexter Osborn was previously cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act when a brown bear named Boo Boo escaped from his enclosure and wasn’t found for three days.

“Bears are complex and sensitive animals who can become ticking time bombs when they’re confined to tiny trucks and dragged from city to city,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the Bangor State Fair to protect animals and members of the community by refusing to host ‘A Grizzly Experience’ or any other wild-animal display.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Joe Imbriaco, general manager of the Cross Insurance Center, follows.

July 27, 2017

Joe Imbriaco

General Manager

Cross Insurance Center

Dear Mr. Imbriaco,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide with urgent animal-welfare and public-safety concerns regarding “A Grizzly Experience,” which is scheduled to appear at the Bangor State Fair starting this weekend. I urge you to ensure that the fair goes forward without this exhibitor.

Just last week, a young grizzly bear clawed a handler’s face in front of frightened spectators at “A Grizzly Experience” at the Saratoga County Fair. According to a witness, the bear had seemed agitated for several minutes before the attack, which ended with the handler holding his face with “blood streaming from it.” This onlooker explained, “[A]s I watched the show before the injury, I thought of all the things that could go wrong when you take a 500-pound omnivore and treat it like a circus freak.”

That incident is only the most recent example of exhibitor Dexter Osborn’s disregard for the public’s safety and animals’ welfare. He was also previously cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act when a brown bear named Boo Boo escaped from an enclosure and wasn’t found for three days.

These incidents are not surprising. Bears are complex, far-ranging animals who require opportunities to roam, swim, forage, and choose their own companions. In the wild, they’re active for up to 18 hours per day, and they spend their time exploring diverse terrain. However, in bear shows, they’re confined to tiny trucks and forced to travel from city to city to be put on display. Captive bears may lash out in frustration, biting, mauling, or otherwise attacking members of the public.

“A Grizzly Experience” teaches children the wrong lesson: that it’s acceptable to confine wild animals, deny them all that’s natural and important to them, and exploit them for profit. Please prioritize animal welfare and public safety by going forward without “A Grizzly Experience” and by committing to hosting only wild animal–free entertainment at future fairs.

Very truly yours,

John Di Leonardo, M.S.
Assistant Manager, Animals in Entertainment
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind