Two Bears Freed From Tennessee Cage – But Five More Still Suffer

PETA Calls for Remaining Black Bears to Be Released From Three Bears General Store After Simpsons Co-Creator Funds Successful Rescue

For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2014

Katie MacDonald 202-483-7382

Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

What happens when PETA transports a bear from a prison-like backyard cage with a concrete floor to the beautiful Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado? As seen in this moving video footage, two Himalayan black bears—illegally imported into Tennessee by the owner of Three Bears General Store, a tourist trap in Pigeon Forge that confines bears to a virtually barren, decrepit concrete pit—romped like cubs once their paws touched fresh, clean mulch after months on the concrete pad in a backyard. But five more bears are still being held captive at Three Bears. That’s why PETA is asking the public to join in calling on Three Bears to send the remaining bears to a reputable sanctuary where they, too, will be able to feast on fresh fruits and vegetables and roam, dig, and forage on acres of natural terrain.

“These two bears will finally feel grass under their feet in a habitat that couldn’t be further from their former barren concrete prison, but five other bears are still suffering,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “That’s why PETA is asking caring people everywhere to put renewed pressure on Three Bears to do the right thing for the bears it still holds captive by retiring them to a sanctuary.”

The bears were rescued on Thursday, thanks to Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons who has devoted his time (and his multimillion-dollar fortune) to helping animals since his terminal cancer diagnosis in 2012 and who helped fund both the bears’ rescue and a vast, naturalistic habitat for them at the sanctuary. PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” kicked off the rescue by prompting the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to investigate and charge Three Bears’ owner with illegally importing the bears into the state. A plea deal was struck that secured the two bears’ surrender for retirement to a sanctuary, and PETA’s help was sought in finding them homes.

Three Bears’ decades-long history of violating federal animal-protection law includes keeping bears in filthy enclosures strewn with animal waste, failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, and denying the bears access to shelter from public viewing and extreme weather.

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