Plea Goes Up on Main Street: Roadside Zoos Are the Pits—Stay Away!

For Immediate Release:
January 26, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Roswell, N.M. – Main Street motorists are getting a glimpse into a bear’s monotonous, unbearable life at the notorious Spring River Park & Zoo. The new billboard depicts one of the city-owned roadside zoo’s two bears—an animal used to roaming the great outdoors, foraging, and bathing in streams—confined to a concrete pit. It urges passersby to avoid roadside zoos like the plague.

PETA initially supported Roswell’s “master plan” to improve conditions for the bears and other animals at Spring River, but years have gone by and almost none of it has come to fruition. Last summer, PETA sent a letter to Mayor Dennis Kintigh urging him to block Spring River’s plans to acquire even more animals and renewing its offer to donate funds to improve abysmal conditions at the roadside zoo—if the city agreed to let the bears go to an accredited sanctuary, which it has refused to do.

“A life on concrete is no life at all for bears, who have thoughts and feelings and need to forage, explore vast territories, and hibernate,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is asking everyone with a heart to drive right on past this sad, cruel, and disgusting roadside zoo.”

Spring River has a long history of failing to meet the minimal requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Its recent citations include failing to maintain an adequate perimeter fence around the facility; failing to provide the equipment needed to treat a stumbling, underweight longhorn steer with overgrown hooves; and failing to maintain structurally sound enclosures, which allowed a black bear and a beaver to escape, the latter of whom was never found.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s billboard is located at the intersection of N. Main and W. Seventh streets.

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