WELLSVILLE — A demonstration Thursday against a Baby Animal Days bear cub exhibit at the American West Heritage Center was orchestrated by the national staff of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and was intended to highlight what the activists consider to be animal abuse by Yellowstone Bear World, one of the displays at the annual Baby Animal Days event.
That abuse, according to PETA, is removing tiny bear cubs from their mothers and thrusting the frightened young animals into the hands of strangers.
“Bear cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years,” said Debbie Metzler of PETA in a press release announcing the local protest. During that time, the organization emphasizes, the cubs play, explore and socialize, “if they are allowed to be bears.”
Instead, PETA charges, Yellowstone Bear World breeds baby bears and takes them from their mothers – when they are just weeks old and before they have even opened their eyes and seen their mothers – for use in public events like Baby Animal Days.
In a statement late Friday afternoon, Sarah Gunnell, administrative assistant for the American West Heritage Center, said that the bears and cubs from Yellowstone Bear World (based in Rexburg, Idaho) are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and that their license is current. She invites interested ones to reach out to Yellowstone Bear World to learn more about their program.
Baby Animal Days continues through Saturday.