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5 Bears Go From Abusive Show to Loving Home | PETA Animal Rescues

When five rescued black bears arrived at their
new sanctuary home, some were nervous about leaving their cages. After all, for most of their lives, stepping
outside their cages had brought only frustration and pain. My name is Brittany Peet, and for two years,
I’ve been fighting to rescue these five American black bears from an outfit called
the “Great Bear Show.” But for Andy, Cindi, Buckey, Brock, and Barney,
it was anything but “great.” The bears were carted around the country,
forced to perform tricks and pose for photo ops, often yanked by the chain around their
necks. Here you can see the show’s owner wrench
Cindi up by the neck and strike her with a stick in order to force her into position
for a photo, causing her to cry out. The owner then pockets the cash. Cindi consistently showed signs of severe
psychological distress. She paced and pawed at the barren, makeshift
cage and was desperate to swim, explore, dig, or do anything that bears do in nature. Barney, the youngest bear, has suffered from
a skin condition for most of his life. Prompted by PETA, the USDA has repeatedly
cited the owner for failing to treat it adequately. You can see the large, hairless patches on
Barney’s body. He constantly scratched, desperately seeking
relief. Barney is your classic young bear. All he wanted to do was play, but he was almost
always isolated from the other bears. You can see his frustration during the shows,
as he was forced to balance on barrels do and other tricks. PETA found that during one stretch, Barney
was kept inside this tiny transport cage, without any exercise. You can see him swaying, a sign of psychological
distress. He was trapped inside there for at least six
weeks. But, after years of pressure from PETA, the
bears’ long ordeal came to an end. They were transported to the Keepers of the
Wild Sanctuary, and the bears stepped out of their tiny cages forever. Even Andy, who almost didn’t make the trip
because of his severe arthritis, slowly made his way down the ramp before settling in for
a long nap. The bears’ new habitat has structures for
them to climb on, bear-sized hammocks, and even a huge swimming pool funded by PETA. And after years of pacing, scratching, and
pining to do the things that bears do in the wild, Cindi went for a swim. Barney, who finally has room to roam and other
bears to socialize with, ran and played as if he’d been doing it his whole life. He’ll finally get the care that he deserves. In the last five years, PETA has rescued 72
bears from roadside zoos and traveling shows, and I remember every single one of them. To see bears who, for years, had lost all
hope finally get to swim and dig and play and hibernate means everything. To the thousands of PETA supporters who wrote
and pressured the owner to send these bears to a sanctuary: Thank you—you did it! If we keep working together, then the rescue
of Andy, Cindi, Buckey, Brock, Barney, and the 67 other bears will just be the beginning,
and one day, we’ll have all the bears out of their hellholes.

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