Lawyers Sue to Save Ben the Bear
Imagine living your entire life alone in a barren wire cage on a concrete floor. This is the fate of Ben the bear, property of Jambbas Ranch Tours in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Lawyers from the Animal Legal Defense Fund have taken Ben’s case to federal court.
Video courtesy of PETA
Jambbas is a roadside zoo required to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces. Instead Jambbas ignores the law and the welfare of Ben and the other animals it displays. The USDA has cited the zoo time and again for AWA violations like unsanitary conditions, hazardous enclosures, failure to provide adequate veterinary care, and failure to provide enough food and potable water. The AWA prohibits the USDA from giving licenses to facilities that violate it.
Yet when Jambbas’s license came up for renewal, the USDA rubber-stamped it.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, and two North Carolina residents have sued the USDA for renewing the zoo’s AWA license. The two individuals have also sued for custody of Ben.
It doesn’t take a bear expert to see that Ben is suffering, but Else Poulsen was brought in for her professional opinion. She said that Ben “is suffering greatly and intervention is critical at this time. Ben exhibits the typical aberrant behaviors of a sensory deprived bear in a substandard enclosure with substandard husbandry practices. His day consists of pacing, begging for bread from visitors, and sleeping–nothing else.”
The other animals on exhibit at Jambbas, including goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, sheep, bison, elk, deer, and dogs, are suffering from similar anguish.
Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, points out that by repeatedly citing Jambbas for violating the most basic animal welfare standards the USDA has admitted that “Ben and the other animals should not live like this.” Yet it is the USDA that has approved the license that will leave them in the hands of the people who force them to live like this.
Sign the petition below to tell the USDA that it must not renew Jambbas Ranch’s AWA license.
Photo Credit: Dr.DeNo