PETA targets Cherokee bear treatment with new billboard

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is continuing to target bear pits on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, this time with a billboard on Interstate 26.

The new billboard shows a little girl with a bloody bandage around her hand. It reads, “Warning: Children Bitten at Bear Pits. Bear Prisons: Dangerous for Children.”

PETA is highlighting an incident in which a 9-year-old was bitten on the hand at a bear park in Cherokee. The billboards are designed to discourage people from patronizing the bear zoos in an attempt to put them out of business. PETA protectors were threatened with being kicked off the reservation if they continued to picket.

About 30 bears are kept in what PETA characterizes as roadside zoos “in cramped, barren enclosures with no opportunity to express natural behavior.”

PETA has been after the tribe to shut down the bear zoos, even bringing in heavy-hitter Bob Barker, animal rights advocate and long-time host of The Price Is Right, to chastise the tribe for what it deems inhumane living conditions for the bears. But tribal leaders have supported the right of free enterprise and the tourist draw the captive bears provide.

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