Victory: Mesa County Fair Says No Plans for Wild-Animal Acts Next Year

Fair Pulls the Plug on Cruel and Dangerous Grizzly Bear Performances Following PETA Campaign

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2018

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Grand Junction, Colo. – Following a PETA campaign—which included more than 100,000 e-mails from compassionate members of the public to the fair board’s president urging him to end all wild-animal performances—Grand Junction’s Mesa County Fair has just announced that it has no plans to host wild-animal acts again next year.

In a letter sent to fair organizers in July, PETA pointed out that Dexter Osborn—the exhibitor of the captive-bear act A Grizzly Experience, which performed at the Mesa County Fair this year—was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act when a bear in his custody escaped and wasn’t recaptured until three days later. He also received a warning from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for importing two bear cubs without a permit and for confining bears to small, inadequate cages. And just last year, a bear used in A Grizzly Experience clawed a handler’s face at the Saratoga County Fair in New York, reportedly leaving the man with “blood streaming” from his face.

“The Mesa County Fair did the right thing in keeping an outfit that hauls broken bears around the country and denies them any semblance of a natural life off next year’s itinerary,” says PETA Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on fairs and festivals everywhere to reject cruel animal acts, which both endanger the public and subject sensitive animals to immense suffering and deprivation.”

Bears used in traveling shows are often torn away from their mothers as babies, locked in cages, shipped from city to city, and forced to perform over and over again in front of rowdy crowds. Captive bears have been known to lash out and maul humans, and dangerous interactions with these animals have resulted in dozens of injuries to humans—some of which have been fatal.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the North Carolina Black Bear Festival ended its captive-bear displays last month and more than 650 venues nationwide currently prohibit wild-animal exhibits.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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