Call to North Georgia State Fair: Nix Cruel, Dangerous Bear, Tiger Shows

PETA Calls On State Fair to Cancel Wild-Animal Displays Following Past Bear Attack, Escape

For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cobb County, Ga.

PETA sent a letter this morning calling on the North Georgia State Fair to cancel plans to host “A Grizzly Experience” and “Tiger Encounter,” which are scheduled to appear at the fair next week.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that bears and big cats used in traveling shows have been known to lash out in frustration. Just last summer, a young bear used in “A Grizzly Experience” clawed a handler’s face in front of spectators at a county fair in New York. The act’s exhibitor has also been cited for importing two bear cubs without a permit; confining bears to small, inadequate cages; and allowing a brown bear named Boo Boo to escape from his enclosure and run free for three days.

“Bears and tigers are complex and sensitive animals who 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 North Georgia State Fair to protect animals and the public by refusing to host these dangerous wild-animal displays.”

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PETA’s letter to the fair’s organizers follows.

September 13, 2018

Bill Watson

Special Event Coordinator

JRM Management Services, Inc.

Cara Lynn

Facility Manager

Jim Miller Park

Dear Mr. Watson and Ms. Lynn,

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA with critical information regarding the scheduled appearances of “A Grizzly Experience” and “Tiger Encounter” at the North Georgia State Fair next week. I urge you to ensure that the fair goes forward without bears, tigers, or any other wild animals.

As you know, last summer, a grizzly bear clawed a handler’s face in front of frightened spectators at “A Grizzly Experience” at the Saratoga County Fair in New York. According to a witness, the bear 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 [him] like a circus freak.” The show’s exhibitor, Dexter Osborn, was also previously cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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. And big cats often have home ranges of hundreds of miles, where they can climb, hunt, and raise their young. But in traveling acts, animals are confined to tiny trucks and forced to travel from city to city to be put on display. Captive bears and big cats may lash out in frustration—biting, mauling, or otherwise attacking members of the public.

These cruel and dangerous shows teach 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 public safety and animal welfare by canceling the cruel bear and tiger shows and allowing only wild animal–free entertainment moving forward.

Very truly yours,

Melanie Johnson

Campaign Coordinator, Animals in Entertainment

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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