Johannes Simon/Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

PETA alleges bear cub abuse at Indiana facility

UPDATE @ 5:12 a.m. 05/26/17

Wildlife in Need provided the following written statement in response to PETA allegations regarding the bear cub: 

“They took 10 seconds of spliced and looped footage from a longer video, dubbed over his words with tragic music to create a scene which fits their agenda, but no longer resembles the truth. If this is not true, then why did they choose to show only 10 seconds and not the unedited segment of Tim showing our guests how bears are very strong even at a young age? Why did they not allow his words and his tone to be heard? He went on to cuddle and hold her and she purred contently in his arms. Why didn’t they show you that part of the video?
“This bear was not hurt in any way and yes she does become quite vocal which can sound distressing to those who don’t know bear behavior. It is a normal vocalization. The cub peed because bear cubs, like all babies, will pee anywhere they feel the urge.
“History has shown us repeatedly that societies who fall prey to mass propaganda schemes were led blindly to their horrible downfall. We trust your intelligence to recognize banal propaganda when you see it and we trust that your mission is to report the truth. PETA’s version is edited so extremely that it is monstrously false.”


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the alleged “abusive handling” of a bear cub at an Indiana facility, and requested the agency confiscate the cub. 

In a May 18 letter addressed to USDA, the animal rights organization alleges Wildlife in Need, Inc., based in Charlestown, Ind., violated the Animal Welfare Act when Tim Stark “mishandled, taunted and provoked” a 14-week-old cub for an audience’s amusement. 

The cub screamed in terror throughout the presentation,” wrote Brittany Peet, the PETA director of captive animal law enforcement. “At one point, he dangled her by the mouth from his hand. Lifting the cub by her mouth in this manner poses a grave risk of damage to her developing teeth and to the muscles in her skull and neck. There is also a risk of severe injury if she were to let go and fall to the ground.”

The PETA letter also alleges the bear cub “screamed in terror” and urinated on Stark as he took the cubs mouth off his hand and held her toward the crowd. 

“Her ears were back, indicating fear and distress, and her eyes were rolled back to the witness, which is a well-known sign of distress in all mammals,” Peet wrote. “He then placed his hand in front of her mouth and she bit with great force, indicating a ‘fight’ response as a reaction tot he extreme stress and her inability to flee, which would be a cub’s typical response.”

Two days after the letter was sent to USDA, Wildlife in Need posted a video of Stark on Facebook with a message stating an “extremist group” edited the video:

“To those of you who are open minded, we sincerely apologize that you have had to bear witness to the mob mentality that has plagued our page this week. An extremist group has edited 10 seconds of natural bear behavior, looped it and overdubbed the message being relayed. This extremist group has made a call to their millions of armchair warriors to spread false propaganda as a means to further their agenda of ceasing all Animal- Human interaction on this planet. And yes, their end goal is that you no longer have any pets of your own. They have a 98% kill rate because their agenda is counter-intuitive to their mission.”

USDA confirmed the federal agency has launched an investigation into Tim Stark’s actions and Wildlife in Need, but no details can be released, according to our news partner WCPO — a Cincinnati-based television station. 

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