Bear Show Under Fire After Video Shows Ailing Animals

PETA Urges Cancellation of ‘The Great Bear Show’ at Sportsmen’s Expo

For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

St. Cloud, Minn.

Today, PETA sent a letter calling on the River’s Edge Convention Center to cancel a planned appearance by The Great Bear Show at the St. Cloud Sportsmen’s Show. PETA’s appeal comes less than a week after the group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over eyewitness evidence that bears used by the show are overweight and that some are apparently suffering from ailments including arthritis and a chronic skin condition, among other issues.

A bear named Barney was videotaped scratching excessively, indicating skin or hair irritation—a condition first reported by the USDA in January 2015. An older bear named Andy apparently suffers from arthritis and appeared to have access only to concrete flooring, which can exacerbate the painful condition. In addition, a bear named Cindi was videotaped continuously pacing on concrete—an indication of psychological distress. A bear expert also noted that the chains used to restrain the animals during shows are likely heavy and painful and that pulling on them to coerce movement can cause long-term trauma to their nerves, spines, and muscles.

“The Great Bear Show drags apparently suffering animals, who are often chained, from town to town, forcing them to perform tricks,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the convention center to keep this disgraceful display out of the St. Cloud Sportsmen’s Show.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the bears used in The Great Bear Show are also denied the opportunity to hibernate, which can result in behavioral issues as well as a chronic inability to regulate their own natural bodily functions.

PETA has rescued 57 bears over the past four years and arranged for their transport to reputable sanctuaries, where they have space to roam, have the opportunity to den, and are never forced to perform tricks.

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