Oswald’s Bear Ranch Blasted for Shooting Bears With Paintball Guns

PETA Calls On Feds to Investigate Reports of Unregistered Experiment at Michigan Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Newberry, Mich. – PETA has sent a complaint requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigate Oswald’s Bear Ranch—which is owned and operated by notorious animal exhibitor Dean Oswald—in Newberry over reports that bears were allegedly shot with paintball guns in an unregistered experiment in 2011.

“Using gentle bears as target practice in a painful, shady ‘experiment’ is a new low for Dean Oswald,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on authorities to investigate these allegations and throw the book at this sham operation before any more bears are harmed.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that despite marketing itself as a rescue facility, Oswald’s annually acquires bear cubs from breeders for the sole purpose of making money off exploiting them in stressful public encounters. The facility has previously been cited for physically abusing a cub, allowing a cub to injure a guest, and endangering children by allowing them to hand-feed cubs. Cubs there have been seen pacing, crying out, and biting the cage in apparent distress. They also suffered from hair loss, likely from chronic exposure to unyielding concrete, which can also cause serious damage to their physical development. Oswald himself recently posted video footage of the cubs self-suckling, a stereotypic behavior indicative of extreme distress, which is common in young animals who’ve been prematurely taken from their mothers.

Oswald’s has also “harvested”—i.e., slaughtered—at least a half dozen bears and has euthanized at least two for being “mean.” During a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection last year, the inspector was told by Oswald’s that “a mean bear” should be “harvested … and made into jerky.”

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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