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NEWBERRY — Oswald’s Bear Ranch is a famous attraction in Newberry known for it’s acres of bear sanctuary and up close interaction with bears.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have made three claims against the ranch in the last few months saying the bears are being mistreated and only used for entertainment. PETA also claims that bear cubs are being bred in captivity and are taken from their mothers too soon.
Each of the claims made by PETA have been investigated and ultimately dismissed by both the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Dean Oswald, Owner of Oswald’s Bear Ranch, says, “MIOSHA was here and taped us three different times, gave us 100% approval. The next time they [PETA] came out and had these statements against us, the USDA came here four days afterwards, gave us 100% approval. Our USDA inspector was here just yesterday, 100% approval. Their accusations are false. Truly false.”
On Tuesday, the Michigan state House of Representatives passed a bill allowing reputable, licensed facilities to breed carnivores, such as bears.
Monte Oswald, Chief Information Officer of Oswald’s Bear Ranch, explains, “That would benefit zoos and rescue facilities, like ours. And so that’s the behind the scenes information on why PETA is attacking us.”
Local 3 News reached out to PETA for their response, it reads, in part: “PETA is not deterred by clean U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports, as the agency’s inspectors are not bear experts…True bear experts agree that bear cub encounters can put the animals’ developing immune systems at risk and have lifelong consequences.”
Monte Oswald says, “They [PETA] make accusations and they’re not held accountable after when we’ve been exonerated…A+, one hundred percent exoneration by our state inspectors and federal inspectors.”
When asked if he thinks PETA will file more claims against the ranch in the future, Oswalds says, “Well, We’re going to be taking legal action now. Because they’ve used three instances now and 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.”
Both Dean and Monte Oswald assure that the ranch will continue to be a safe and clean environment for both the bears as well as the visitors of the ranch.
Dean adds, “It’s enjoyable…It’s educational and enjoyable.”
For more information on Oswald’s Bear Ranch, click here.
———–BELOW IS PETA’S FULL STATEMENT REGARDING OSWALD’S BEAR RANCH———–
“PETA recently called on state authorities to conduct an investigation into Oswald’s history of shady transfers. Despite the facility’s claim about “rescued cubs,” not a single cub currently there is a rescued orphan, and 75 percent of the bears Oswald’s has acquired were captive-born cubs bred to be used as photo props, including Daley, Jalyn, and Lulu, who were just acquired from a Wisconsin breeder. PETA is not deterred by clean U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports, as the agency’s inspectors are not bear experts and its own Office of the Inspector General has repeatedly criticized the USDA for its inconsistent enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act. True bear experts agree that bear cub encounters can put the animals’ developing immune systems at risk and have lifelong consequences. Bear cubs at Oswald’s have been spotted pacing, crying out, and chewing on cages in psychological distress, and PETA will continue to advocate for them as long as these encounters continue.”
—Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement