Wildlife Exhibitor Cited for Federal Animal Welfare Act Violations Provided Bear for John Cox Event

For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Sacramento, Calif. – In a shameful move that PETA hopes he regrets, California gubernatorial candidate John Cox apparently hired Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife—an outfit with a long history of citations for violating the most basic requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including by failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and locking chimpanzees in “night housing” for up to 18 hours a day—to exhibit a bear named Tag at a press conference today.

Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler:

Gone should be the days when wild animals were treated as toys or props, so it’s unfortunate and shameful that Tag the Kodiak bear has been exploited in this way. It’s also dangerous, given the bear’s long, sharp claws, which can disfigure or even kill someone with one swipe. Bears need to be left alone to live a bear life, not confined to a pen on asphalt and wheeled out for events—and PETA urges anyone with an ounce of decency to keep dangerous wild animals out of their publicity stunts.

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and informs the public about those issues. PETA does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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

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