Fair Drops Bear Act After PETA Appeal

Wild Animals Will Not Be Forced to Perform Stupid Tricks at the Hancock County District Fair

For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Britt, Iowa – A bear-sized box of delicious vegan brownies is on its way from PETA to the Hancock County District Fair Board as a thank-you for its decision to nix scheduled performances by Welde’s Big Bear Show, a traveling act from a Florida roadside zoo.

As PETA shared with the fair organizers, the show operators keep the bears inside tight transport cages in which they can barely turn around, let alone avoid their own waste. During performances, the bears push carts, carry a basketball while walking on their hind legs, pull hoops over their heads, and perform other tricks—likely because they fear what will happen to them if they don’t.

“No decent, kind person wants to see bears kept in cages and bullied into performing dumb tricks,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “As lockdowns begin to lift, PETA is calling on festivals across the country to join the Hancock County District Fair in barring such cruel wild animal acts.”

Welde’s permit to keep bears in Florida was recently denied by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, pending appeal. The state also recently issued a warning against Welde’s for violating captive-wildlife laws after it forced an adult bear to perform as a “ring bearer” and come dangerously close to wedding guests. Adult bears can easily break away from someone attempting to control them with only a leash, and the animals’ size, strength, speed, long claws, and large teeth make them particularly dangerous to exhibit publicly.

Nearly 700 venues and dozens of communities across the country—as well as California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York—prohibit or restrict animal exhibits. The North Carolina Black Bear Festival has ended its captive-animal displays, and a traveling act called The Great Bear Show has shut down and transferred all the bears it had been using to a reputable sanctuary.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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