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Animal Attraction: 'Bear Baiting' Competitions

Animal Attraction:  'Bear Baiting' Competitions

Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

by Stacy Fox

Posted on August 30, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 30 at 5:43 AM

An investigation by The Humane Society of the United States has uncovered deeply disturbing abuse of captive black bears inside bear baiting events in South Carolina — the only state that still allows this type of competition, one of the earliest forms of cruelty challenged by anti-cruelty advocates in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. The HSUS' video footage offers the first publicly available view of these inhumane spectator events in the Western world.

At bear baiting contests, which participants call "bear bays," a captive bear is tethered to a stake in an enclosed area, then set upon with packs of dogs for the entertainment of cheering spectators. HSUS undercover investigators attended four events, held in Spartanburg, Hickory Grove and Travelers Rest, S.C., at which the captive bear's claws and some of her teeth had been cut, rendering the animal defenseless. The bear — believed to be the same bear, a 15-year-old female, at all four events — was tied to a stake in a fenced area and attacked by up to three dogs at a time for several hours.

Watch the video  

"It's inexcusable to stake a defanged, declawed, defenseless bear and offer the poor creature up as a living piñata for dogs to attack," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "The people of South Carolina will be outraged to know that there are people still staging these spectacles in the state."

Read more from the HSUS press release

Source: The Humane Society of the United States 


Title - Black Bear
Creator - Laubenstein, Karen (Big Game Alaska) 
Publisher - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  
Rights - Public domain