Victory: Black Bear Festival Goes Animal-Free After PETA Appeal

Just Ahead of National Black Bear Day, Festival Pledges Humane Education, No Captive-Bear Displays

For Immediate Release:
May 29, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Plymouth, N.C. – Ahead of the first National Black Bear Day—a new nationwide day dedicated to black bears—on June 1, the North Carolina Black Bear Festival in Plymouth has announced that it will feature only animal-free exhibits from now on. The move comes after PETA contacted the festival in response to its captive-bear display last year to inform organizers about the cruelty of such exhibits. In response, organizers pledged to end the bear shows and teach the public about the animals humanely, through a black bear museum, expert presentations, and tours of the bears’ natural habitat.

“A festival honoring beautiful bears should feature positive animal-free entertainment, not captive animals,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “The North Carolina Black Bear Festival made the kind choice to pull the plug on cruel and exploitative bear exhibits, and PETA is calling on all other fairs and festivals still featuring live animals to follow suit.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that in nature, intelligent, inquisitive bears avoid humans and spend their days digging, climbing, running, and swimming across vast home ranges. Bears in traveling exhibits, however, are carted around the country in cramped cages and often forced to perform confusing and even painful tricks in front of rowdy crowds. They are denied everything that’s natural and important to them and frequently exhibit signs of stress, depression, and severe psychological trauma.

Just this month, bears from the abusive traveling act The Great Bear Show were rescued with PETA’s help following a vigorous PETA campaign. More than 620 retail venues and dozens of communities nationwide now prohibit wild-animal acts.

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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