PETA claims Oswald’s is a “death trap” following death of juvenile bear

Local News
Sophie the bear

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NEWBERRY — A juvenile bear from Oswald’s Bear Ranch has died. According to a press release from the ranch, Sophie, the bear, was “euthanized” by police officers. 

Oswald’s says that USDA inspectors investigated the death and found it was an “isolated occurrence”.

Read the full statement from Oswald’s Bear Ranch here:

“Oswald’s Bear Ranch, with a heavy heart, announces the death of “Sophie”, a juvenile bear. USDA Inspectors determined that a severe storm that knocked out the power to the juvenile bear habitat allowed the inquisitive young bear to scale the enclosure fences. Sophie wandered through the woods onto the neighbor’s property where she foraged for food. The neighbor noticed the bear and contacted authorities. The officer that arrived on scene was unaware that the bear was habituated and not afraid of people. As Sophie approached, the officer euthanized her. 

This tragic incident has been investigated by the USDA and has been determined to be an isolated occurrence. A new backup electric power system has been installed to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of incident. 

Oswald’s Bear Ranch continues to serve as the world’s largest bear rescue facility while providing family-friendly interactions with bruins at one of the Upper Peninsula’s most exciting conservation destinations.”

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made multiple claims of abuse and neglect against Oswald’s Bear Ranch, all claims have been dismissed by Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

PETA sent a statement to Local 3 News regarding the death of Sophie:

“Yet another bear has died prematurely at Oswald’s Bear Ranch, where bears have been trapped in a collapsed den, suffered a “drug overdose,” and suddenly died from unknown or undisclosed causes, and half a dozen more have been slaughtered—as Oswald’s told a state inspector in 2017, a “mean” bear should be “made into jerky.” Oswald’s is a death trap for bears, and PETA urges all kind people to stay away. 

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—also notes that the USDA’s own Office of the Inspector General has repeatedly condemned the agency for its ineffective enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, so the agency’s failure to take action in response to this bear’s death comes as no surprise. ​​​​​​”

Following the claims made by PETA against Oswald’s, the bear ranch told Local 3 News that they will be taking legal action. 

“We’re going to be taking legal action now…we’ve been exonerated every time. Not one violation. It’s frustrating when we have to designate part of our working time, to care for these animals, to try to defend ourselves against their accusations, which are baseless,” Monte Oswald, Chief Information Officer of Oswald’s Bear Ranch told Local 3 News in June of 2018. 

Local 3 News has continued to cover the ongoing issues between Oswald’s Bear Ranch and PETA. Find more information at the links below:

PETA wants investigation at Oswald’s Bear Ranch

Oswald’s Bear Ranch responds to PETA’s claims

PETA creates billboard against Oswald’s Bear Ranch

Oswald’s Bear Ranch responds to PETA’s billboard campaign

Oswald’s Bear Ranch: exonerated after PETA allegations

PETA files fifth claim against Oswald’s Bear Ranch

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