Crackdown on Cherokee Bear Zoo Overdue, PETA Tells Feds

Visitors Complain: Tiger Kept in Appalling Conditions, Bears Going Mad in Barren Concrete Pits, Federal Violations Look the Same

For Immediate Release:
December 23, 2013

Contact:
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Cherokee, N.C. – Today, PETA urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take immediate action against Cherokee Bear Zoo (CBZ) for  numerous new and uncorrected apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act regarding bears and a white tiger forced to live in miserable, virtually barren, stress-inducing conditions at the unaccredited roadside menagerie.

“It’s time the government got some guts and faced the fact that Cherokee Bear Zoo is a hellhole for animals,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Not only does it appear that this despicable facility has accumulated a host of new animal welfare violations, the USDA is also keeping mum about older, unresolved cases of animal abuse.”

A recent visitor reports that the white tiger at CBZ is confined to a cage so small that the animal is able to take only a few steps in any direction. A visitor also told PETA that the tiger almost constantly paced back and forth, a behavior induced by stress. The tiger’s only apparent water source is a small and apparently dirty pool, forcing the animal to drink and bathe in the same water. Pictures reveal that the tiger has no adequate place to escape from sun, rain, and wind. Besides the small, dirty pool, the cage’s only “enrichment” is a tire and some branches.

The bears are still suffering in the same ways that PETA began documenting—and reporting to the USDA—years ago. They include living in undersized, virtually barren concrete pits, which do not allow the bears to express any of their natural behavior, and pacing and circling, a sign of suffering and deprivation. In October, PETA sued the USDA in federal court for failing to respond to a formal request that the agency adequately protect bears suffering in roadside zoos across the country. Shortly thereafter, the agency notified the public that it’s seeking comments on bear-specific welfare standards.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

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“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