Protest the Exploitation of Black Bears in Michigan

bear petting zoo michigan

Target: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Goal: Condemn Michigan governor for passing a dangerous and unethical bear cub petting zoo bill.

Governor Rick Snyder in Michigan recently approved a bill that would allow people to interact with bear cubs in petting zoo-like settings. The new measure allows the public to hold, feed, and take pictures with bear cubs. Although this bill may seem harmless, it actually poses many problems for humans and bears, and it endangers both species.

The new legislation allows the public to interact with bears up to 90 pounds and 36 weeks old. 90-pound bear cubs outweigh most 10-year-olds and are equivalent to the size of large dogs. Bears are extremely powerful creatures, even at a young age, with long non-retractable claws. If a bear cub accidentally swipes at a child or adult during these interactions, it could cause permanent damage. Black bears are nervous and easily frightened, and tend to show aggression when distressed. Therefore, the risk of unanticipated or unpredicted attacks is high. The spread of disease is also a concern in petting zoos. Rabies and E. coli can spread from bears to humans, when both species are sharing the same confined space.

In addition to endangering the well-being of humans, this bill also endangers the well-being of black bears. Wild animals should not be exploited as a money-making venture. It is stressful for bear cubs to be prematurely removed from their mothers, and bear cubs in captivity do not receive the proper nutrition and care that they would receive in the wild. While the bear cubs are being handled for photo opportunities and interactions with the public, they may be exposed to abusive and excessive handling. Bears, while normally shy and solitary, may become distressed when surrounded by crowds of loud people.

Although this new measure seems to be promoting a fun new recreational activity, it is actually promoting wildlife exploitation. It is cruel to keep bear cubs caged up for the sake of human entertainment. In addition, the fact remains that bears are wild animals. They are instinctively wild and their actions cannot be predicted or anticipated. Putting wild animals and humans in the same space endangers both species. Sign the petition below to let Governor Snyder know that this bill is unacceptable and condemn him for passing this unethical bill.


Dear Governor Snyder,

I was appalled to hear that you passed legislation that would allow people to interact with bear cubs in petting zoo-like settings. This new measure exploits wildlife, as it allows the public to hold, feed, and take pictures of bear cubs, for a fee. Not only does this interaction endanger humans, but it also compromises animal welfare.

According to the new legislation, the public is allowed to interact with bears up to 90 pounds. At 90 pounds, bear cubs are outweighing most 10-year-old children. Bears are extremely powerful and have formidable claws that could kill prey with one swipe. If a bear cup accidentally swipes at a child or adult during these interactions, it could cause permanent damage. Bears are wild, therefore, it is hard to predict or anticipate their actions. As wild animals, bears should not be kept in captivity, especially bear cubs that are prematurely removed from their mothers. These bears may also experience distress and discomfort from abusive and excessive handling.

Putting wild animals and humans in the same space endangers both species. This measure should not have been passed as it promotes cruel wildlife exploitation. I would like to urge you to rethink your actions, and know that this new measure is unacceptable.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Alan Vernon via Flickr

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  1. J Davidson says:

    We have had enough experience with the tragic results from human and wild animal close contact, and it has been known for a long time that it just doesn’t work.

  2. barb loren says:

    Please, Govenor, do NOT allow the exploitation of bears continue in Michigan. Michiganders understand and love wildlife too much to allow it to continue!

  3. Curtis and Jane Hoffman says:

    Bears should not be used for profit in this way. What will happen to the bears when they grow up? WIll they be placed in sanctuaries????

  4. They are going back to Century 19th in MI and yet more animal exploitation and for $$$

    When these sad psycho bears grow up they will either go to a bigger zoo for a longer psychotic life or be shot as unwanted.

  5. I worked in a zoo for many years. Young orphaned bear cubs raised by humans can not be returned to the wild usually they go to sanctuaries. If done in a responsible manner then a hands on education could educate people create a lifelong positive experience interaction with bears and deeper respect for these animals which all leads to more people passionately involvement in their rights improving wild bears survival, habitats ect. But the hands on needs to be done safely, in conjunction with trained certified staff (biologists, trainers, ect.)not random carney folks collecting cash.

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