Fair Under Pressure to Cancel Cruel Bear Act

PETA Points to New Citations Over Distressed Bears, Alerts Feds to Ongoing Animal-Welfare Concerns

For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Kenton, Ohio – PETA sent a letter this morning urging the Hardin County Fair to cancel its plans to host The Great Bear Show—a traveling act run by notorious animal exhibitor Bob Steele that forces bears to perform meaningless, confusing, and often uncomfortable tricks, such as rolling on a barrel.

In the letter, PETA points to Steele’s history of federal Animal Welfare Act violations, including those noted in a newly available inspection report—the result of an inspection that was prompted by a PETA complaint and that confirmed PETA’s allegations, finding, among other issues, that the bears Barney and Cindi were observed pacing, an abnormal behavior that can indicate psychological distress.

Because evidence from a recent show indicates that both bears’ pacing behavior has continued—and that Barney has apparently been kept continuously in a travel trailer, possibly for more than a month—PETA also sent a complaint urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a new inspection of the show over apparent continued violations.

“Bob Steele drags bears from town to town in a trailer to perform tricks despite their apparent mental distress,” PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet says. “PETA is urging everyone who cares about animals to skip the Hardin County Fair as long as it insists on hosting this abusive exhibitor.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Steele has been cited three times for failing to provide Barney with adequate veterinary care after the animal was observed to have large patches of hair loss. Other citations include those for handling bears in a manner that doesn’t ensure their safety or that of the viewing public.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 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