Michael Keaton Condemns Bear-Cub Photo Ops in New TV Spot

Ahead of Memorial Day, PETA Ad Will Air on Area Stations Urging People to Steer Clear of Animal-Exploiting Operations Like Oswald's Bear Ranch

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Newberry, Mich. – As part of its campaign to persuade people never to visit roadside zoos that take vulnerable bear cubs away from their mothers and use them to sell photo ops and handling “opportunities,” PETA will run an ad featuring Oscar nominee Michael Keaton on Michigan television stations throughout the next week. In the spot, Keaton explains that cubs used for public encounters are separated from their mothers prematurely and endure psychological trauma as a result of this cruel practice.

A case in point is Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry, which has a long history of acquiring bear cubs from breeders, confining them to concrete-floored enclosures, and even slaughtering adult bears. Many young bears have also died there. Last year, a juvenile bear named Sophie was shot by police after escaping from an enclosure, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cite Oswald’s for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“In nature, bear cubs spend their time playing, exploring, and socializing, but those exploited for paying customers to use as photo props are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, even their mother’s love,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is asking people not to support operations like Oswald’s that are literally the death of baby bears.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—further notes that cubs at Oswald’s have been seen pacing, crying out, and biting their cages. Video footage posted by the facility’s owner, notorious animal exhibitor Dean Oswald, shows cubs self-suckling, an abnormal repetitive behavior indicative of extreme psychological distress that’s common in young animals who’ve been taken from their mothers too early.

The ad will air daily during the news on WMYD in Detroit and WILX in Lansing from May 18 to 25.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. 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