Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

UNBEARABLE - ADI exposes America’s performing bears

Posted: 18 December 2013. Updated: 7 January 2014

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For up to an hour a day, they are dressed up in clothes, have muzzles strapped around their mouths and are made to dance and perform demeaning tricks – the rest of their time is spent caged in tiny cells in a prison truck.

This is life for a group of bears, owned and trained by Texas-based James and Tepa Hall who tour the US as ‘Bear Mountain’, ‘Hall’s Bears’ or ‘Castle’s Bears’, in circuses and at county fairs.

In September ADI released video shot inside the dark and gloomy trailer, showing a bear desperately circling a small steel cage measuring about 3½ft wide by 6ft deep and about 8ft high. The steel floor of this barren cage is covered in just a scattering of sawdust.

ADI investigators monitored the daily life of the bears at circuses and county shows in five states – South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa – and found that the bears spend over 90% of their time in these miserable prison cells.

The living conditions are among the worst we have seen. Bears are known for their intelligence and inquisitive natures and would suffer from the mental torture of such a barren environment and lack of space to explore.

These Syrian and European brown bears are muzzled and during performances are forced to walk on their hind legs, do handstands, dance, balance on a ball, ride a bicycle and a motorcycle. Afterwards they are returned to the trailer and caged again.

ADI is calling for a boycott of the bear shows, and pressing the USDA to take action. Keep watch for this act and help us urge county fair organizers not to book this act in future.

On a national level, we are working with members of Congress for the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which aims to end the use of wild animals in traveling shows.

With legislation proposed in the UK and the recent ban in El Salvador, the US is finding itself left behind as more and more countries around the world prohibit animal acts.

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