Written by Jeff Mackey
In yet another
important development in PETA's campaign to close down the shamefully dilapidated roadside zoos in Cherokee, North
Carolina, and elsewhere, which confine bears to desolate pits and concrete
pens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just released a complaint detailing the charges that it has filed against Chief Saunooke Bear Park for more than a dozen violations of
the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). These charges come after PETA filed formal complaints with the agency and joined members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in
meeting with the USDA to discuss the problems at this facility.
In April 2010, PETA submitted a report—prepared by leading bear experts who had visited the Cherokee bear zoos—to the USDA, documenting
and detailing dozens of violations of the AWA at these wretched
The USDA charges include failure to provide food for public feeding that was appropriate to
the type of animal and his or her nutritional needs, repeated failure to
provide adequate veterinary care, housing animals in incompatible groups, and the
use of dirty, unsanitary food receptacles—all of which were issues raised in
PETA's expert report.
The agency also cited Chief Saunooke Bear Park (pit) for repeated failure to
maintain adequate barriers between animals and the public so as to ensure the
safety of both. This failure resulted in at least two attacks on visitors to
the park, as detailed in a complaint that PETA hand-delivered to the USDA
asking it to seek revocation of the zoo's license—and now it's finally doing
so, as well as pursuing civil penalties and a cease-and-desist order.
Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, to close the pits now and retire the bears to an accredited sanctuary. And, of
course, never patronize facilities that keep captive wildlife in cruel
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.