‘I’m Not a Photo Prop’: PETA Billboard Slams Oswald’s Bear Ranch

For Immediate Release:
July 12, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Lansing, Mich. – Smack dab in the middle of summer vacation season, PETA has posted an enormous billboard on U.S. Route 127 warning people that vulnerable cubs suffer when they’re forced into photo ops and public handling encounters at Oswald’s Bear Ranch, a notorious roadside zoo in the Upper Peninsula. The billboard urges drivers to avoid the place at all costs.

“Oswald’s Bear Ranch is making money from unsuspecting, well-intentioned tourists, and if this terrified bear cub could talk, she’d ask them to stay away,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA is asking anyone with a heart to keep right on driving past this abusive operation.”

Cubs at Oswald’s have been seen pacing, crying out, and biting cages in apparent distress, and the roadside zoo has been cited for physically abusing a cub, allowing a cub to injure a guest, and endangering children by permitting them to hand-feed cubs. Bears have also died there in terrible ways: One was shot after escaping from an enclosure, another suffered a fatal “drug overdose,” and some have even been slaughtered.

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.

The billboard is located on the highway, half a mile north of Lake Lansing Road.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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