USDA seeks comments on rules for roadside zoos
The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to hear from the public on a proposal to set new standards for the care and treatment of bears kept in roadside zoos.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals cited Cherokee Bear Zoo in its request for changes in the Animal Welfare Act.
The current law has rules for the care of cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, marine mammals, primates and rabbits, but says nothing about bears, except for polar bears.
PETA wants rules to ensure the proper care for captive bears. It suggests doing away with pit-type enclosures, the creation of minimum space standards and requiring den and pool access and regular feeding schedules.
The department wants the comments by Jan. 27.