Workers Routinely Bitten by Cubs; PETA Files Complaints With Federal, State Authorities
For Immediate Release:
July 25, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Narrated by Alec Baldwin, footage from a new PETA undercover investigation into Yellowstone Bear World—a bear-breeding operation that charges people to feed and pose for photos with bear cubs who have been prematurely taken from their mothers—shows a supervisor lashing out at a cub, threatening, “You use your teeth one more time, and I will rip them out, one by one.” The supervisor also instructed staff to carry sticks with them into the yearling and adult bear enclosures, admitted to telling a worker to “beat” any bear who came toward her, and told workers to withhold prescribed pain medication from a cub with a fractured leg because, as one worker said, it was “too good.”
Cubs used by Yellowstone Bear World writhe and cry out when they’re passed around to members of the public. PETA’s exposé shows them desperately trying to suckle from workers’ chins and arms because they’re deprived of the opportunity to nurse. When the cubs are nearly 5 months old—according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an age at which they’re too large and strong to be used for direct contact with the public—Yellowstone Bear World uses them in bottle-feeding encounters, and PETA’s investigator documented cubs often biting, scratching, and bruising workers.
In response, PETA has submitted evidence to the USDA, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, seeking investigations into apparent violations of animal welfare, captive-wildlife, and worker-safety laws.
“At Yellowstone Bear World, traumatized cubs have been torn away from their mothers, threatened with violence, and forced into photo ops to line this sleazy operation’s pockets,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on the authorities to crack down on Yellowstone Bear World and urging everyone to stay away from any business that profits from the suffering of vulnerable animals.”
The supervisor told PETA’s investigator that one cub was sent to a “home” in Nebraska because she was “too feisty” for public encounters, but government records show that she was sold to an exotic-animal dealer who sells cubs to other exhibitors and is known to send bears to slaughter. In the past decade, Yellowstone Bear World has shipped at least 88 bears to this dealer, including four cubs in 2022. As PETA’s exposé shows, the adult bears Yellowstone Bear World hasn’t shipped off are relegated to a drive-through park, where they beg for food from visitors and several pace back and forth—a sign of psychological distress.
Staff also denied grizzlies the fruits and vegetables that are essential to their health—instead feeding them only meat, bread, and sweets—and “fasted” them one day a week, giving them only some doughnuts and cookies. When PETA’s investigator gave cubs water to drink and play in, the supervisor complained, “Now customers have to pet a wet cub.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.