Feds: Bear Act Violated Federal Law While on MSU Campus

PETA Asks School to Ban All Wild-Animal Acts From Premises

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bozeman, Mont.

This morning, PETA sent a letter alerting Montana State University (MSU) that a traveling bear act called The Great Bear Show incurred several citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) while appearing on MSU’s campus earlier this year.

The university allowed the exhibitor to appear despite PETA’s warnings that The Great Bear Show’s operator, Bob Steele, has a long history of AWA violations—and the March 31 inspection report, which just became publicly available, confirms PETA’s concerns. On MSU’s grounds, Cindi the bear was observed pacing. The inspector noted, “Pacing in black bears is an abnormal behavior pattern and can indicate stress, frustration, or an underlying medical condition.” Steele was also cited at MSU for not having any furnishings, water tubs, or bedding that would allow the animals to express normal types of behavior.

“As PETA warned, The Great Bear Show brought a display of animal suffering and disregard for federal law to Montana State University’s campus,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the school to ban this cruel outfit from its grounds and commit to never hosting any wild-animal exhibits again.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Steele has now been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture three times for not providing a young bear named Barney with adequate veterinary care after he was observed to have large patches of hair loss around his neck and face and halfway down the sides of his body. This chronic condition has been present since at least November 2014.

According to bear expert Jay Pratte, who has more than 25 years of experience in captive-bear husbandry, “[T]hese bears are enduring poor husbandry and care and neglect of their basic biological needs and considerations, and their constant exploitation for public presentations and sales of merchandise is a form of abuse.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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