Feds Cite Outfit After Bear Let Loose at Mississippi Valley Fair

PETA Renews Calls for Bearadise Ranch to Send Animals to Sanctuaries

For Immediate Release:
November 23, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Iowa

After the traveling show Bears of Bearadise Ranch unleashed a bear during a performance at the Mississippi Valley Fair and later failed to stop the animal from running across the arena while members of the public were still nearby, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the show’s owner, Monica Welde, for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act, a report just obtained by PETA reveals.

According to the newly released report, the bear’s leash wasn’t reattached after the show, leaving the animal untethered in an arena whose borders consisted of loose netting that wasn’t attached to the ground. While the handler was at least 20 feet away, a loud noise from a nearby fair attraction startled the bear, who ran to the arena exit, placing the public just outside “in closer proximity to the bear than the animal handler.” The report underscores that the “bear could have potentially escaped or made contact with the public” [emphasis added].

“Not only does Bearadise Ranch exploit bears, who belong in nature, it also puts its audience at risk,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA urges everyone to steer clear of cruel sideshows like this one, before a member of the public gets hurt or worse.”

Welde, who is based in Florida, received a misdemeanor citation earlier this year after PETA notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that she had allowed a news crew to enter an enclosure with a 300-pound bear. And just last year, the FWC issued a formal warning to Welde, following PETA’s complaint that she had paraded the same bear around at a wedding without any barrier to protect attendees. PETA has repeatedly called on Bearadise Ranch to allow the bears to be transferred to accredited sanctuaries where they’d be free to roam, dig, and forage as they choose.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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