For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Rexburg, Idaho – Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler in response to Sen. Van Burtenshaw’s newly introduced bill (S1084), lobbied by bear-breeding operation Yellowstone Bear World, which would effectively eliminate state regulations for exhibitors licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an agency with fewer than 200 Animal Welfare Act inspectors for over 10,000 licensees and registrants. The proposal follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recent decision to fine Yellowstone Bear World over $6,000 after a PETA complaint from an undercover investigation detailed how the facility exposes employees to potential attacks from bears and hazardous bear sprays without proper training or protocols:
Endangerment is the name of the game at Yellowstone Bear World, both for the vulnerable cubs who are taken from their mothers and the employees who are at risk of injuries or even death in the workplace. This exploitative business is trying to remove itself from scrutiny from state authorities by lobbying for a law to exempt it from being held accountable for its recklessness.
PETA’s investigator also documented cubs often biting, scratching, and bruising workers, and the exposé shows bears desperately trying to suckle from workers’ chins and arms because they’re deprived of the opportunity to nurse. When the cubs are nearly 5 months old—according to the USDA, an age at which they’re too large and strong to be used for direct contact with the public—Yellowstone Bear World uses them in bottle-feeding encounters.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.