For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2024
David Perle 202-483-7382
Rapid City, South Dakota – It’s birthing season for the bears at Bear Country U.S.A., and PETA has just erected an unmissable sky-high plea right outside the roadside zoo’s entrance, letting the public know that this roadside zoo has been caught forcibly removing infant cubs from their mothers. An undercover investigation exposed workers at Bear Country U.S.A. admitting to driving mother bears out of their dens with fireworks—then snatching their 8-week-old cubs while running chainsaws without the chains to drown out the sound of the cubs’ screams. Staff were also instructed to kick growing cubs and to “pinch their nose as hard as you f***ing can” if they bit.
“Every mother’s worst nightmare is having her baby taken away and being helpless to stop it or to protect them, yet this is standard practice every spring at Bear Country,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on the public to demand that Bear Country stop stealing cubs for tourists to look at when bear families should be left in peace.”
Following PETA’s investigation between March and July 2023, the facility was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for causing “trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort” to the bears. The agency has also cited Bear Country U.S.A. for allowing lynx to repeatedly escape from an enclosure.
The investigation further revealed that animals at the roadside zoo were denied timely veterinary care. Mama, a thin 17-year-old red fox, was observed missing significant amounts of hair and showing obvious signs of pain. After workers finally took her to be evaluated by a veterinarian nearly 11 weeks after PETA’s investigator raised concerns, she was euthanized. A necropsy revealed that she had been suffering from widespread cancer.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.