PETA Asks Feds to Help Lame Bear Videotaped at Cherokee Bear Pit

Animal Seen Struggling With Stiffness and Having Difficulty Walking

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cherokee, N.C. – Following new video evidence that shows a bear struggling with a significant right forelimb limp at the much-criticized Cherokee Bear Zoo (CBZ), PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to step in and require that the roadside zoo provide the bear with veterinary care. Bears held captive at CBZ are confined to cramped concrete pits, deprived of the soft substrate they need to dig and climb, and predisposed to early-onset arthritis—a serious and painful joint disease. PETA is urging the USDA—which has cited facilities for confining bears to concrete pits in the past—to hold CBZ accountable for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

“This bear is clearly suffering, and animals at Cherokee Bear Zoo continue to live in filthy and dangerous conditions,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on authorities to do the right thing for these animals by retiring them to reputable sanctuaries where they can receive the care they so desperately need.”

CBZ has a long history of violating the AWA. In 2012, the roadside zoo was cited for failing to provide an unvaccinated 3- to 4-month-old tiger cub with adequate veterinary care, putting the underweight animal at risk of contracting potentially fatal diseases. Following a complaint from PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—in 2014, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited and fined CBZ for multiple violations of federal laws that protect workers. Specifically, it was cited for allowing workers to come into direct contact with bears during feeding and cage-cleaning as well as with caustic bleach, without any eye or face protection. The facility received five citations and was ordered to pay a $3,120 fine.

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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